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Accident Report Detail

Railroad grade crossing accident between a Chevrolet Suburban and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) freight train.

Executive Summary

​On March 23, 2011, at 4:25 p.m., a northbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) freight train, G-CRKINB9-16H (BNSF 7363), collided with a 2008 Chevrolet Suburban departing the Longview Junction yard at a private grade crossing in Kelso, Washington. A Coach America driver was operating the Suburban. (Coach America was under contract to BNSF to transport operating crews.) A BNSF conductor, a student conductor, and a locomotive engineer were passengers in the Suburban. The driver, the student conductor, and the locomotive engineer were fatally injured. The conductor sustained serious injuries and was flown to Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland, Oregon. The BNSF train crew was not injured. The Suburban was totaled at a cost of $30,000, and the lead BNSF train locomotive received $2,000 in damage. At the time of the accident, the weather was partly cloudy with a temperature of about 59° F.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the Suburban driver to stop his vehicle before he drove onto the tracks to ensure there were no approaching trains. Contributing to the accident was the placement of railroad equipment too close to the crossing, obscuring the visibility of approaching trains.

Accident Location: Kelso , WA    
Accident Date: 3/23/2011
Accident ID: DCA-11-FR-001

Date Adopted: 3/29/2012
NTSB Number: RAB-12-02
NTIS Number:  

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