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Accident Report Detail

 
Rear End Collision and Derailment of Two Union Pacific Freight Trains

Executive Summary

On July 10, 1986, Union Pacific Railroad (UP) eastbound freight train No. CLSA-09 struck standing UP freight train No. WPX-08, 8 miles west of North Platte, Nebraska. Due to unusually heavy fog, visibility was limited to about 300 to 400 feet. Train No CLSA-09 was traveling about 40 mph as it approached the area where train WPX-08 was stopped. The engineer applied the brakes when the caboose of the standing train became visible, but the train's speed was reduced to only about 32 mph, when the trains collided. Three locomotives and 11 cars from both trains were derailed. The rear brakeman of train WPX-08 was killed and the conductor injured. The engineer and head brakeman of train CLSA-09 were injured when they jumped from the train.

The major safety issues concern factors that permitted the engineer of train CLSA-09 to ignore weather conditions and signal indications, including the adequacy of the signal system, the adequacy of UP's monitoring of its traincrews, the environment in which the engineer was working, and the engineer's experience, training, and judgment.


Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the engineer of train No. CLSA-09 to recognize the dangerous operating conditions imposed by dense fog and reduce speed accordingly and his failure to reduce speed in accordance with the signal indications as required by the operating rules. Contributing to this accident was the failure of the Union Pacific Railroad to properly supervise operating employees and its failure to correct the false restrictive signals on the North Platte subdivision, which resulted in the engineer disregarding the valid signal indications on the main track.


Accident Location: North Platte , NE    
Accident Date: 7/10/1986
Accident ID: DCA86MR004

Date Adopted: 7/23/1987
NTSB Number: RAR-87-03
NTIS Number: PB87-916303

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