Railroad Accident Brief

Amtrak Train 350 Derailment

Niles, Michigan
October 21, 2012

NTSB Number: RAB-13-06
Adopted: November 20, 2013
PDF

The Accident

On Sunday October 21, 2012, at 10:10 a.m. eastbound Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) train 350, operating over the Amtrak Michigan Line (AML) in Niles, Michigan, entered the Niles Yard from the main track at Control Point (CP) 190 while traveling 61 mph. The train derailed about 291 feet after diverging from the main track and traveled 1,148 additional feet before coming to a stop on a yard track.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the unauthorized use of a jumper wire that provided a false proceed signal with a mainline switch lined to Niles Yard. The use of the jumper wire was inconsistent with Amtrak procedures for using jumper wires to override signal and train control safety-critical circuits. Contributing to the accident was the inadequate oversight by Amtrak management to ensure proper jumper wire safeguards were employed.