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Accident Report Detail

​Preliminary Report DCA15MR008

Executive Summary

The information in this report is preliminary and will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation
On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, at about 06:23 a.m. mountain daylight time, westbound Southwestern Railroad (SWRR) freight train MCLOCRL 127A with 9 locomotives and 79 cars collided with standing SWRR train LSWC-002127I, the Roswell local, on the Carlsbad Division near Dexter, New Mexico. Train MCLOCRL 127A struck the Roswell Local after traveling through a misaligned switch at the east end of Chisum siding, where the Roswell local had previously worked. 
The accident train engineer placed the train into emergency braking about 500 feet prior to taking a diverging route from the main track into the Chisum siding. The train was travelling at about 32 mph and struck the lead locomotive of the standing train with an impact speed of 31 mph. The striking train derailed all nine locomotives. Two locomotives and three empty hopper cars of the Roswell local derailed.
In this photograph, the main track recedes from the foreground to the center of the picture. On the left side of the photograph and parallel to the main track on the siding track, are the lead locomotives from the striking train. If you follow the locomotives to the center of the photograph, the blue lead locomotive of the local train can be identified. In the middle of the photograph is a railroad hopper car laying on its side because of the collision with the local train. 
Figure 1. Train at point of rest following the collision. 
The engineer and conductor jumped from the lead locomotive of the striking train prior to impact with the Roswell Local. The engineer was fatally injured and the conductor was life-flighted to a regional hospital in Lubbock, Texas with serious injuries. The Roswell local crewmembers went off duty at 6:00 a.m. and were not present during the accident.
Weather at the time of the accident was 45° F with sunny skies and visibility of ten miles.
Parties to the investigation include Southwestern Railroad, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Public Regulation Commission (New Mexico).

Probable Cause

The information in this report is preliminary and will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation

Accident Location: Roswell , NM    
Accident Date: 4/28/2015
Accident ID: DCA15MR008

Date Adopted: 9/16/2015
NTSB Number:  
NTIS Number: