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Accident Report Detail

Railroad Switching Foreman Struck by Locomotives

Executive Summary

On December 7, 2003, about 12:12 a.m., a Union Pacific Railroad (UP) switching foreman was struck and killed by two locomotives at the UP's East Yard in San Antonio, Texas. The two locomotives were operated as a single unit under the foreman's control. He was operating the locomotives from the ground using a remote control transmitter. The foreman usually had a helper. However, on the night the accident occurred, the helper position was not filled because of a crew dispatch problem, so the foreman worked alone.

His assignment was to switch 44 railroad cars using the locomotives. When the accident occurred, the locomotives were traveling about 11 mph and were moving back over the track they had just traversed rather than over the tracks leading to the destination (train yard track 3).

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the December 7, 2003, yard accident in San Antonio, Texas, was the foreman’s inattentiveness to the location of the locomotives and the switch position and the lack of adequate oversight by the Union Pacific Railroad of power-assisted switch installation, maintenance, and operations at its East Yard.

Accident Location: San Antonio , TX    
Accident Date: 12/7/2003
Accident ID: DCA04FR004

Date Adopted: 5/23/2006
NTSB Number: RAB-06-02
NTIS Number:  

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