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Accident Report Detail

Collision of Two Union Pacific Railroad Trains

Executive Summary

About 7:54 a.m. on Saturday, February 21, 2004, Union Pacific Railroad (UP) eastbound freight train AMLKS-18, consisting of 2 locomotives and 78 empty multi-level cars, struck a westbound UP freight train, GLPNEP-16, consisting of 4 locomotives and 93 loaded covered hopper cars. 2 The westbound train was struck about 25 hopper cars behind its locomotives, resulting in 11 derailed cars (the 26th through the 35th). The striking train had two locomotives, and its first 11 cars derailed as a result of the collision. Both crewmembers of the striking train were killed. The crewmembers of the westbound train were unharmed. Diesel fuel released from the ruptured tanks of the striking train’s locomotives caught fire, which was extinguished by the local fire department. There was no evacuation of the area. The estimated damage was $1,964,543.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the February 21, 2004, accident was the failure of the engineer of AMLKS-18 to stop as directed by wayside signal because he was asleep, which was induced by his lack of sleep prior to the accident and his marijuana use. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the failure of the AMLKS-18 conductor to oversee the safe operation of the train because he was also asleep.

Accident Location: Carrizozo , NM    
Accident Date: 2/21/2004
Accident ID: DCA04FR006

Date Adopted: 10/31/2006
NTSB Number: RAB-06-05
NTIS Number: