The information in this report is preliminary
and will be supplemented
or corrected during the course
of the investigation.
On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at 8:21 a.m. central daylight time, two BNSF Railway
(BNSF) trains collided at milepost 525.4 on the BNSF’s Panhandle Subdivision. (See figure 1.) Each train was crewed by a locomotive engineer and a conductor. Eastbound train S-LACLPC1-26K consisted of 3 head-end locomotives, 2 distributive
power units, and 56 loaded cars, and westbound
train Q-CHISBD6-27L consisted of 5 head-end locomotives and 54 loaded cars. The signal system was lined to route
the westbound train into the
Panhandle control point
milepost 526.1 while holding the eastbound
train on the main track before the east end of the
siding. The collision, which caused the derailment of the locomotives and several cars from both trains, occurred about one-half mile east of the east switch
(east end) of the Panhandle siding.
The weather at the time of the accident was clear and 74°F.
The collision and derailment resulted
significant fire. Three crew members died in the accident—the engineer and conductor on the eastbound
train and the conductor on the westbound
train. The engineer of the westbound
train jumped from the train before impact and survived with injuries. The
BNSF estimated damages of $16
Train movements in the area of the accident
are governed by signal indications of a traffic control system. A
positive train control
system is scheduled to be implemented by the BNSF in this
area by the end of
review of signal event recorder data and tests of the signal system indicate the last
signal the eastbound
train passed before the collision was a stop (red) signal. The previous
signal the eastbound
approach (yellow) signal.  A preliminary
review of locomotive event recorder data revealed that the eastbound train was traveling about 62 mph when it went by the approach signal at the west end of the Panhandle siding and about 65 mph when
the stop signal
at the east end of the Panhandle siding.
Figure 1. Derailment site.
Investigators completed sight distance tests of the signal system for
the operation of both trains into the collision point,
the results are being analyzed. Investigators also shipped event and video
recorders to the NTSB recorders laboratory in
Washington, DC, for further analysis.
The investigation is ongoing.
Parties to the investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration, BNSF Railway, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air,
Rail and Transportation Workers.
 A red signal aspect requires a train to stop before any part of the train passes the signal; an approach signal indicated by a solid yellow aspect requires that a train reduce speed to a maximum of 40 mph and be prepared to stop at the next signal.