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Accident Report Detail

Highway/Rail Grade Crossing Collision

Executive Summary

About 2:35 a.m. on May 2, 1995, National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train No. 81, the Silver Star, on its southbound run from New York, New York, to Tampa, Florida, struck an O&J Gordon Trucking Company tractor-lowbed semitrailer combination that had been lodged for 30 to 35 minutes on a rural, high-vertical-profile (hump), passive grade crossing about 1 mile north of Sycamore, South Carolina. At the time of the accident, the train was using a single main line track belonging to CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT). The two locomotive units and 14 cars of the 16-car consist derailed. The tractor and semitrailer were substantially damaged. No fire ensued. The train was carrying 279 passengers, 9 service crewmembers, and 5 operating crew members. Thirty-three persons sustained minor injuries. Combined property damage to the train and truck exceeded $1 million.​

Probable Cause

The Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the motor carrier's failure to provide to the driver appropriate guidance to respond to emergency situations. This led to the truckdriver's failure both to understand that the substandard profile of the Boogaloo Road grade crossing was incompatible with the truck he was operating, and to notify the appropriate railroad and emergency personnel of the blocked crossing.​

Contributing to the accident was the absence of emergency notification information that the driver may have used to notify the railroad of the blocked crossing.

Accident Location: Sycamore , SC    
Accident Date: 5/2/1995
Accident ID: SRH95MH026

Date Adopted: 3/11/1996
NTSB Number: HAR-96-01
NTIS Number: PB96-916201