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Accident Report Detail

Amtrak Train 774 Striking Maintenance-of-way Workers

Executive Summary

About 1:38 p.m., Pacific standard time, on April 1, 2003, eastbound National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train 774 struck two maintenance-of-way workers at control point 2 (CP) Avery near San Juan Capistrano, California. Both workers were fatally injured. According to event recorder data, train speed was 90 mph. The Amtrak 774 engineer said that he sounded the horn and placed the train into emergency braking moments before impact. The fatally injured workers were part of a five-person crew employed by Herzog Contracting Corporation (Herzog) to provide maintenance-of-way services under a contract with the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink). The accident occurred on tracks owned by the Orange County Transportation Authority and operated by Metrolink. The weather was clear and dry, with a temperature of 66° F.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the inattentiveness of the assigned lookout as well as his failure to comply with applicable rules by posting advance lookouts or requesting another means of protection from train movements. Also contributing to the accident was the ineffectiveness of the Metrolink and Herzog efficiency test programs with regard to on-track safety procedure compliance.

Accident Location: San Juan Capistrano , CA    
Accident Date: 4/1/2003
Accident ID: DCA03FR004

Date Adopted: 2/13/2004
NTSB Number: RAB-04-01
NTIS Number:  

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