Railroad Accident Investigation Involving Two Freight Trains

Goodwell, Ok
June 24, 2012

Animation

This animation reconstructs the sequence of events leading to the head-on collision of two Union Pacific freight trains near Goodwell, Oklahoma, which occurred on June 24, 2012, at 10:01 am local time.

The animation shows the position and speed of each train and illustrates the sequence of signals presented to both train crews, beginning at 9:56 am up until the collision at 10:01 am. Locomotive event recorder data was used to determine the position, speed and braking status for each train. The surveyed track data, consist data of both trains, and recorded signal events were also used in the animation development. The animation does not depict the weather or visibility conditions at the time of the accident. The animation includes audio.

The animation begins with an overall map showing the accident site at Goodwell, Oklahoma. The map also shows the point of departure of the westbound train (Pratt, Kansas), and the point of departure of the eastbound train (Dalhart, Texas). The animation transitions into a view showing a 10-mile length of track in the vicinity of the Goodwell siding. The North direction, scale and time are shown in the upper left hand side of the screen. The train track is oriented from southwest to northeast (from the lower left hand side of the screen to the upper right hand side of the screen) with the 2-mile long Goodwell siding in about the center of the screen. The trains are shown as arrows; the length of each arrow is scaled to the length of the train. The eastbound train, ZLAAH-22 proceeds on the track from the lower left hand side of the screen to the upper right. The westbound train, AAMMLX-22 proceeds on the track from the upper right hand side of the screen toward the lower left. Five signals are shown along the track. The eastbound train passes three of the signals before the collision, and the westbound train passes the other two signals before the accident. The animation ends with a photograph of the accident. The photograph was taken about 11 hours after the accident, and the two locomotives in the photograph had been shifted from their original post-crash positions.

Voice Over Narration

1. On Sunday, June 24, 2012, at approximately 10:01 a.m. central daylight time, two Union Pacific freight trains collided head-on near Goodwell, Oklahoma.

2. The westbound train, designated AAMMLX-22, departed Pratt, Kansas at about 5:32 am.

3. The eastbound train, designated ZLAAH-22, departed Dalhart, Texas at about 8:45 am.

4. This close-up view shows the location of signals along the track in the area of the accident.

5. The eastbound train was scheduled to stop on the main track before the east end of the Goodwell siding.

6. The westbound train was scheduled to divert onto the siding to clear the track for the eastbound train.

7. The local time is shown, as is the speed of both trains.

8. At about 9:56 am, 5 minutes before the collision, the westbound train passed an advance approach signal displaying a flashing yellow aspect located approximately 5.1 miles before the east entrance to the Goodwell siding.

9. The westbound train crew was required to reduce their train speed to 40 mph, and they began reducing speed to comply with the signal indication.

10. At about the same time, the eastbound train also passed an advance approach signal displaying a flashing yellow aspect located approximately 2.4 miles from the west end of the Goodwell siding.

11. The eastbound train crew was also required to reduce their train speed to 40 mph to comply with the signal indication and be prepared to stop at the signal located at the east end of the Goodwell siding.

12. The event recorder data showed that the eastbound train continued past the signal at a speed of about 67 mph.

13. At about 9:58 am, the eastbound train passed an approach signal located near the west end of the Goodwell siding, approximately 1.8 miles from the east end of the siding.

14. The signal was displaying a solid yellow over solid red aspect.

15. The eastbound train crew was required to reduce train speed to 30 mph to comply with the signal indication and be prepared to stop before the train passed the signal located at the east end of the Goodwell siding.

16. The event recorder data showed no actions were taken to reduce the speed of the train, and the train continued past the signal at a speed of about 68 mph.

17. A little more than one minute before the collision, the westbound train passed an approach diverging signal located approximately 2.6 miles before the east entrance of the Goodwell siding.

18. The signal was displaying a solid yellow over solid yellow aspect.

19. The westbound train crew continued to reduce train speed to prepare to advance on a diverging route to enter the Goodwell siding.

20. A few seconds later, the eastbound train passed a stop signal with a solid red aspect located near the east end of the Goodwell siding.

21. The eastbound train continued past the stop signal at a speed of about 65 mph.

22. Event recorder data showed that the westbound train crew applied emergency braking about 20 seconds before the collision.

23. Event recorder data also showed that the eastbound train crew applied emergency braking about 8 seconds before the collision.

24. At about 10:01 am, the two trains collided head-on about 1.5 miles east of the Goodwell siding at an estimated combined speed of 79 miles per hour.