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Accident Report Detail

BNSF Railway Company Remote Control Locomotive Switching Operation Fatality

Executive Summary

On August 30, 2007, about 4:59 a.m., a westbound BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) train, consisting of a locomotive and two cars, was being remotely controlled when it collided with the side of a standing tank car that was fouling a crossover between two tracks at BNSF's Mormon Yard in Stockton, California. A helper, who was remotely controlling the moving train, had been riding the side ladder on the leading end of a covered hopper car. When the hopper car collided with the tank car, the helper was killed. At the time of the accident, it was dark, and the temperature was 74° F. The property damage was $500.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the August 30, 2007, collision between a BNSF Railway yard train and standing rail cars at a crossover between tracks 132 and 133 in Stockton, California, was the remote control foreman's failure to ensure that the crossover was not fouled when he lined switches to allow the helper to move the remotely controlled train through the crossover. Contributing to the accident was the yard trainmaster's failure to inform the remote control crew that a local train crew had left rail cars on track 132 that were not clear of the crossover. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the remote control helper's position on a side ladder of the train's leading rail car as he was controlling the train through the crossover.

Accident Location: Stockton , CA    
Accident Date: 8/30/2007
Accident ID: DCA07FR010

Date Adopted: 12/5/2008
NTSB Number: RAB-08-06
NTIS Number:  

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