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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Amtrak Train No. 30, the Capitol Limited, on CSX Transportation's Metropolitan Subdivision

Executive Summary

About 1:55 p.m., eastern daylight time, on July 29, 2002, eastbound National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train No. 30, the Capitol Limited, derailed on CSX Transportation’s (CSXT’s) Metropolitan Subdivision at milepost 11.78 in Kensington, Maryland. The train had originated in Chicago and was en route to Washington, D.C. The train comprised 2 locomotives and 13 cars and was moving at 60 mph on tangent (straight) track in the area of the derailment. Eleven cars derailed. Of the 164 passengers and 13 Amtrak crewmembers on board, 14 passengers and 2 Amtrak crewmembers received serious injuries. An additional 71 passengers and 8 Amtrak crewmembers sustained minor injuries. Estimated damages exceeded $14.3 million. The weather was clear and sunny, with temperatures reaching a high of 96° F.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the July 29, 2002, derailment of Amtrak train No. 30, the Capital Limited, in Kensington, Maryland, was (1) the failure of the track surfacing crew to adequately tamp the ballast and accomplish a proper run-off, leading to an unstable condition and buckled track, (2) an incorrect slow order code indicating that the work was complete when it was not, and (3) inadequate CSX Transportation oversight of track maintenance work on this section of track.

Accident Location: Kensington , MD    
Accident Date: 7/29/2002
Accident ID: DCA02MR005

Date Adopted: 5/28/2004
NTSB Number: RAB-04-05
NTIS Number: