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Accident Report Detail

Collision of Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) Train KAEL-3 and Union Pacific (UP) Train ZYCMX-23

Executive Summary

On March 23, 1999, about 7:02 a.m., central standard time, eastbound Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) train KAEL-3 struck the side of the lead locomotive unit of southbound Union Pacific Railroad (UP) train ZYCMX-23 at a crossing of Conrail and UP tracks in Momence, Illinois.

As a result of the collision, the lead locomotive unit of the Conrail train and both locomotives and the first 16 cars of the UP train derailed. Diesel fuel from the second UP locomotive was released and caught fire, damaging the locomotive and containers on the freight cars in the immediate area. The UP estimated its damage to be $1,654,000. Conrail estimated its damage to be $137,000.

Both conductors and engineers were hurt. The Conrail conductor refused treatment on scene, and the Conrail engineer and both UP crewmembers were treated and released from a local hospital.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision was the failure of the Conrail engineer, despite the crew's difficulty in seeing the home signal, to slow the train enough to be able to stop it before it entered the crossing. Contributing to the accident was the conductor's delayed action in warning the engineer to slow the train even though the conductor realized that the train might be traveling too fast to stop at the crossing. Also contributing to the accident was the lack of any safety redundancy system capable of preventing a collision in the event of human failure.

Accident Location: Momence , IL    
Accident Date: 3/23/1999
Accident ID: DCA99MR004

Date Adopted: 3/14/2002
NTSB Number: RAB-02-02
NTIS Number:  

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