Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-06-011
Details
Synopsis: About 5:46 p.m., central daylight time, on May 19, 2004, two BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) freight trains collided head on near Gunter, Texas. The southbound train, BNSF 6789 South, was traveling about 37 mph, and the northbound train, BNSF 6351 North, was traveling about 40 mph when the collision occurred. The trains were being operated under track warrant control rules on non-signaled single track. The collision resulted in the derailment of 5 locomotives and 28 cars. About 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel were released from the locomotives and resulted in a fire. The southbound train engineer was killed, and the southbound train conductor was airlifted to a hospital in Dallas with serious burns. The crewmembers on the northbound train were transported to a local hospital, where they were admitted. Estimated property damages exceeded $2 million.
Recommendation: TO THE BURLINGTON NORTHERN SANTA FE RAILWAY COMPANY: Use the Gunter collision as a case study in train crew and dispatcher training and retraining to illustrate how informal communications can lead to misunderstandings and errors.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Gunter, TX, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA04FR009
Accident Reports: Collision Between Two BNSF Railway Company Freight Trains
Report #: RAR-06-02
Accident Date: 5/19/2004
Issue Date: 6/29/2006
Date Closed: 9/4/2007
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: BNSF Railway Company (formerly Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company) (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Communication, Dispatch, Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: BNSF Railway Company (formerly Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company)
Date: 9/4/2007
Response: The Safety Board notes that the BNSF has developed a Crew Cab Communication training module using the Gunter, Texas, collision as a case study. The training module will be used for dispatcher, new hire, and rule recertification training for transportation employees. The module, which was implemented in 2007, presents compilations of various train accidents and the consequences of informal communication. BNSF also completed a video, depicting crewmembers discussing how their informal communications had contributed to train collisions, which will be used in safety briefings and training sessions. As these additions to the training program have met the intent of the recommendation, Safety Recommendation R-06-11 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: BNSF Railway Company (formerly Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company)
To: NTSB
Date: 12/19/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/3/2007 9:44:55 AM MC# 2060618:The Crew Cab Communication training module that utilizes the Gunter, TX collision as a case study is in its final completion stages. The text has been reviewed and approved by our subject matter experts and is in the hands of the instructional designer for narration and completion. We are on target for inclusion of this module in our 2007 Training Program. Your representatives were given a copy of the video referenced in our August 17,2006 letter. This video was developed by and has been used on one of our Operating Divisions. The video will also be distributed to our other Divisions for use in the near future. Based on this additional information, I would request the NTSB close Recommendation R-06-11 as Closed: Acceptable Action.

From: BNSF Railway Company (formerly Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company)
To: NTSB
Date: 8/17/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/6/2006 1:19:24 PM MC# 2060443:BNSF is modifying its dispatcher, new hire and rule recertification training for transportation employees to include a module on crew communication. This module will consist of compilations of various train accidents and the impact and consequence of informal communication. In addition, BNSF recently completed a video that features crewmembers discussing how their informal crew communication contributed to train collisions. This video will be used in safety briefings and training. Based on these modifications, I would request that the NTSB close Recommendation R-06-11 as "Closed: Acceptable Alternate Action."