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Accident Report Detail

 
Derailment of Seaboard System Railroad Train No. F-690 with Hazardous Material Release, Jackson, SC, February 23, 1985, and Collision of Seaboard System Railroad Train No. F-481 with Standing Cars. Robbins, SC, February 25, 1985

Executive Summary

About 7:15 a.m., on February 23, 1985, Seaboard System Railroad (SBD) train No. F-690 derailed at Jackson, South Carolina, while traveling about 53 mph. The train struck a cushion unit that had dropped from a cushion-underframe boxcar in a train which had passed through Jackson about 5 hours earlier. Eight of the 27 derailed cars were tank cars laden with cyclohexane. The tank cars did not have head shield protection. Cyclohexane was released through tank head penetrations and was ignited immediately. Although no fatalities or injuries resulted from the accident, damage was estimated at $1,293,133, and residences within a 1-mile radius of the accident site were evacuated.

About 7:50 a.m., on February 25, 1985, SBD train No. F-481 struck the rear of standing cars at Robbins, South Carolina. The train was being operated on an absolute block in manual block territory on a nonsignalized, single main track. The standing cars were from a train left at Robbins 2 days before because of the main track blockage at Jackson from the earlier derailment. The accident resulted in three serious injuries, and damage was estimated at $66,455.


Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident at Jackson, South Carolina, on February 23, 1985, was the laxity of the Seaboard System Railroad mechanical maintenance, inspection, and supervisory practices which resulted in the striking by train No. F-690 of a cushion unit that had dropped onto the track structure from a cushion-underframe boxcar about 5 hours earlier. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the lack of head shield protection on tank cars carrying high-risk hazardous materials.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident at Robbins, South Carolina, on February 25, 1985, was the failure of the dispatchers on duty during a period of unusual dispatching events, necessitated by the accident at Jackson, South Carolina, 2 days before, to adhere to established and documented procedures. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the Seaboard System Railroad to supervise the dispatchers properly to ensure adherence to its established and documented procedures.


Accident Location:   , SC    
Accident Date:  
Accident ID: DCA85RM003

Date Adopted: 10/16/1985
NTSB Number: RAR-85-12
NTIS Number: PB85-916312

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