Railroad Accident Brief

The Belt Railway Company of Chicago Employee Fatality

Bedford Park, Illinois
July 25, 2011

NTSB Number: RAB-14-06
Adopted: July 7, 2014

The Accident

On Monday, July 25, 2011, about 12:33 a.m., central daylight time, a Belt Railway Company of Chicago (BRC) conductor was killed while coupling cars in a hump classification yard track in Bedford Park, Illinois. The accident occurred in the BRC Clearing Yard, West Classification Yard (WCLS) track 16. The conductor was found in the gage of the track between the 17th and 18th west railcars. The drawbars on these two railcars were found to be crossed. The conductor appeared to have been pinched between the knuckle of the stationary car that was coupled to the train and the drawbar carrier of the free-rolling car that he was attempting to couple. At the time of the accident, the weather was mostly cloudy; the temperature was 76°F.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the conductor to apply the necessary protections before he stepped between the cars to adjust the drawbars. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the BRC's lack of an effective efficiency testing program to periodically observe and enforce its safety and operating rules for switching movements.