Railroad Accident Brief

Collision between Two CSX Transportation Freight Trains

Westville, Indiana
January 6, 2012

NTSB Number: RAR-13-03
Adopted: August 20, 2013
PDF

The Accident

On January 6, 2012, at 1:18 p.m., westbound CSX Transportation (CSX) freight train Q39506 struck the rear end of standing westbound CSX freight train K68303 on track 2 at milepost (MP) 224.5 near Westville, Indiana. (See figures 1 and 2.)

The crew of train Q39506 had just escaped the locomotive, which had derailed on its side onto track 1, when CSX westbound freight train Q16105, operating on track 1, struck the derailed locomotive.

The derailed equipment from both collisions included the last 7 cars of train K68303, both locomotives and 6 cars of train Q39506, and all 3 locomotives and 12 cars of train Q16105. Spilled diesel fuel from the locomotives caught fire.

The engineer and conductor of train Q39506 were injured and transported to a local hospital.

The weather was clear and 54°F at the time of the accident. The estimated damage was about $5 million.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the crew of train Q39506 to maintain vigilant attention to wayside signals, communicate effectively, avoid distractions from prohibited text messaging, and comply with the speed restrictions required by the railroad signal system. Contributing to the accident was the lack of a positive train control system that would have stopped the train and prevented the collision regardless of the crew’s inaction.