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Accident Report Detail

Collision of Two Union Pacific Railroad Trains

Executive Summary

About 12:07 a.m. on September 15, 2005, Union Pacific Railroad (UP) train MPBSR 13, entered the siding at Shepherd, Texas, at approximately 37 mph and struck UP train LEF52 14. The engineer of the standing train, train LEF52 14, was killed. The lead locomotive of the striking train, train MPBSR 13, rolled onto its side, and the engineer and conductor sustained minor injuries. The temperature was approximately 78° F; and, other than darkness, visibility was clear. The estimated property damage was about $1,514,000.

The collision occurred on the UP’s Lufkin Subdivision, approximately 50 miles north of Houston, Texas. Train movements were authorized by track warrants issued by the train dispatcher in Omaha, Nebraska. The maximum authorized speed was 49 mph. There were no wayside signals to govern the train movements or protect the train from an interruption in the continuity of the track, such as an open switch. Consequently, strict compliance with the operating rules was necessary to protect one train from another.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the September 15, 2005, collision of Union Pacific Railroad trains MPBSR 13 and LEF52 14 in Shepherd, Texas, was the failure of the previous crew for train LEF52 14 to return a main track switch to the normal position after they had secured the train on the siding and departed the area.

Accident Location: Shepherd , TX    
Accident Date: 9/15/2005
Accident ID: DCA05FR012

Date Adopted: 5/22/2006
NTSB Number: RAB-06-01
NTIS Number:  

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