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Accident Report Detail

Union Pacific Railroad Yard Switching Operations Fatality

Executive Summary

On October 13, 2006, at 9:20 a.m., a Union Pacific Railroad (UP) switching brakeman was struck and killed by three coupled railroad cars at the UP's Watsonville Junction Yard in Pajaro, California. The brakeman had been assigned to a two-person crew (one brakeman, one conductor) designated as LRQ42R-13, which was a regular weekday assignment. Their assignment was to switch railroad cars using a remote-controlled locomotive.

This crew was the only one working in the yard. The conductor was using an Operator Control Unit (OCU) to remotely control a locomotive that was used to switch railroad cars onto various yard tracks. The brakeman was to (1) ensure that the car couplings were successfully completed, (2) set the hand brakes, as needed, and (3) connect the air hoses.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Union Pacific Railroad brakeman being struck and killed on October 13, 2006, in Pajaro, California, was the brakeman's decision to board moving equipment. Contributing to the accident was the crew's failure to properly follow the Union Pacific Railroad's speed restrictions when switching cars.

Accident Location: Pajaro , CA    
Accident Date: 10/13/2006
Accident ID: DCA07FR001

Date Adopted: 12/5/2008
NTSB Number: RAB-08-07
NTIS Number:  

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