October 15, 2005
NTSB Number: RAB-06-04
At 4:56 a.m., central daylight time, on October 15, 2005, westbound Union Pacific Railroad (UP) train ZYCLD 13 collided with the rear of standing UP train MPBHG 15 in the UP rail yard in Texarkana, Arkansas. The collision resulted in the puncture of a railroad tank car containing propylene, a compressed flammable gas. The propylene was heavier than air and flowed near the ground into a nearby neighborhood. The flowing gas reached a house where an unknown ignition source ignited the gas, and the house exploded. The single occupant was killed. The fire moved quickly along the flowing gas back to the punctured tank car. A second, unoccupied, home was destroyed in the fire, and a wooden railroad trestle burned completely. Approximately 3,000 residents within a 1-mile radius of the punctured tank car were advised to evacuate the area. The two crews and the employees working at the Texarkana yard were not injured, and they evacuated the area safely. Between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., the wind was calm, the visibility was 10 miles, and the temperature was approximately 59° F. Total damage was $2.4 million, including $325,975 in equipment damage and $2,053,198 in track damage.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the October 15, 2005, collision of Union Pacific Railroad train ZYCLD 13 with Union Pacific Railroad train MPBHG 15 in Texarkana, Arkansas, was the failure of the crew of train ZYCLD 13 to remain attentive and alert and thereby able to stop short of an observable standing train. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the puncture of a tank car during the collision, which resulted in the release of propylene and a fire.