Highway Accident Report

Collision Between Amtrak Train 97 and
Molnar Worldwide Heavy Haul Company
Tractor-Trailer Combination Vehicle at
Highway-Rail Grade Crossing in
Intercession City, Florida, on
November 17, 2000

NTSB Number HAR-02/02
NTIS Number PB2002-916202


On November 17, 2000, about 4:35 p.m., eastern standard time, near Intercession City, Florida, a 23-axle, heavy-haul vehicle, operated by Molnar Worldwide Heavy Haul Company, was delivering a condenser to the Kissimmee Utility Authority Cane Island Power Plant. The private access road to the plant crossed over a single railroad track owned by CSX Transportation, Inc. As the vehicle, traveling between 1 and 3 mph, crossed the tracks, the crossing warning devices activated and the gates came down on the load. Seconds later, Amtrak train 97, operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, collided with the right side of the rear towed four-axle tractor. No injuries occurred. The collision destroyed the tractor and caused over $200,000 damage to the train and crossing signals.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigated a similar accident that occurred on November 30, 1993, at the same location (Highway Accident Report NTSB/HAR-95/01). In that accident, an overdimenson, low-clearance vehicle operated by Rountree Transport and Rigging, Inc., was en route to deliver an 82-ton turbine to the electricity generating plant. The cargo deck of the transporter bottomed out on the roadway surface as the vehicle moved across the tracks. To gain sufficient clearance, the four-member truck crew shimmed the transporter while the cargo deck was on the tracks. About 12:40 p.m., the lights and bells at the grade crossing activated; the crossing gates descended, striking the turbine. Seconds later, Amtrak train 88, carrying 10 crewmembers and 89 passengers, struck the side of the cargo deck and the turbine. Six people sustained serious injuries and 53 suffered minor injuries. The vehicle and turbine were destroyed; the locomotive and first three railcars were damaged extensively. Total damage exceeded $14 million.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the November 2000 collision of Amtrak train 97 with the tractor-combination vehicle was the failure of the Kissimmee Utility Authority, its construction contractors and subcontractors, and the motor carrier to provide for the safe passage of the load over the grade crossing.

The following safety issues were identified in this accident.

As a result of this accident investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board makes recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws & Ordinances, the Kissimmee Utility Authority, and all class 1 and regional railroads.