Posts Tagged ‘train collisions’

Ohio Crash Probe Focuses on PTC Operation

August 27, 2019

Officials of the Federal Railroad Administration and CSX are seeking to determine why a positive train control system in place on the Columbus Subdivision failed to prevent a collision between two freight trains on Aug. 12.

Investigators are looking at whether the PTC system was properly activated and functioning prior to the early morning crash near Carey, Ohio.

They also are considering the role that human error might have played in causing the collision.

The probe has already determined that although PTC was active on the line, it has been disengaged on train H702, a Columbus to Willard local that struck the side of a southbound frac sand train, the W314, at the end of a passing siding.

Trains magazine cited unnamed sources as saying that the crew that ran past a stop signal had switched off PTC on their locomotive in order to conduct switching operations.

After the crash, the locomotive of the H702 derailed along with 25 freight cars.

An earlier report indicated that the engineer of the W314 had flashed his locomotive’s headlight, sounded its horn and sought to warn the local on the radio.

The crash occurred at 5:21 a.m. and did not result in any serious injuries to any crew member.

The federal law that mandates PTC systems on certain rail lines allows it to be turned off on some trains in limited circumstances, including while switching, during yard-to-yard moves, and when a train’s locomotive fails to connect with the PTC system while already en route.

2 Dead, 110 Hurt When Amtrak’s Silver Star Collides Head-on With CSX Auto Rack Train

February 5, 2018

Two Amtrak crew members were killed and more than 100 injured early Sunday morning when the Miami-bound Silver Star was misrouted into the path of a parked CSX freight train.

The accident happened at 2:35 a.m. in Cayce, South Carolina, about 10 miles south of a the train’s previous station stop at Columbia, South Carolina.

Officials said Train No. 91 had 147 aboard and 110 of them were reported to have suffered injuries ranging from minor cuts to broken bones. Nine of those aboard were Amtrak employees.

Killed were Amtrak engineer Michael Kempf, 54, of Savannah, Georgia, and conductor Michael Cella, 36 of Orange Park, Florida.

Dr. Eric Brown, the executive physician for Palmetto Health,  said six people were admitted to hospitals for more severe injuries, including head trauma.

National Transportation Board Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said on Sunday afternoon that the switch had been manually “lined and locked” to divert the Amtrak train into the freight train.

“Of course key to this investigation is learning why that switch was lined that way because the expectation is the Amtrak would be cleared and would be operating straight down,” Sumwalt said.

Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson said during a conference call with reporters that before the crash the Amtrak crew was communicating with a CSX dispatcher by phone because a signaling system that governs traffic in the area was down for maintenance.

Authorities said investigators are still trying to determine how fast the Silver Star was going at the time of the collision, but the top speed there is 59 mph.

Sumwalt said the CSX train had two locomotives and 34 empty auto rack cars. It had unloaded automobiles on the west side of the main line and then used it to back into a siding on the east side of the main line.

“We were able to see that it was actually literally locked with a padlock to make it lined to go into the siding,” Sumwalt said of the switch on the main.

He said investigators will focus on why the switch wasn’t restored to its normal position before Amtrak No. 91 arrived.

NTSB personnel at the scene retrieved a front-facing video camera from Amtrak P42DC No. 47 and sent to their laboratory in Washington for review. The train’s event data recorder had not been located as of Sunday evening.

“I can tell you there’s catastrophic damage to each of the locomotives,” Sumwalt said. “In fact, I would say that the Amtrak locomotive would be not recognizable at all.”

The consist of the Amtrak train included a P42 locomotive, three Amfleet coaches, an Amfleet cafe lounge, two Viewliner sleepers and a baggage car.

Sumwalt said the crash could have been avoided if positive train control had been in operation at the time.

About 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled after the collision, but authorities said it posted “no threat to the public at the time.”

Passengers who were not injured or had been treated for injuries were taken to a middle school for shelter.

They were later put aboard chartered buses to continue their journey southward.

Amtrak No. 30 Hits NS Train at Olmsted Falls

August 4, 2014

No injuries occurred when Amtrak’s eastbound Capitol Limited struck the rear of an NS freight train in Olmsted Falls early Monday morning,

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Trains that “a suspected rules violation occurred . . . It is under investigation by Amtrak and NS, with notification to the FRA.” The train was re-crewed, with significant delay. The incident occurred just before 4 a.m. At the time, No. 30 was running more than 2 hours later, having departed Elyria at 3:26 a.m.

Online reports indicated that No. 30 went into emergency and struck NS 058 at low speed. One reported described the collision as similar to a hard coupling.

There were no injuries to passengers or damage to equipment. The train departed Cleveland at about 11 a.m. The lead engine of the Amtrak train was P42 No. 147. Trailing was P32 No. 517.