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Accident Report Detail

Railroad Accident Brief: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Trolley Collision

Executive Summary

​On January 4, 2017, at 12:47 p.m. eastern standard time, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) trolley 9101 (struck trolley), traveling northwest on trolley route 10 with an estimated 47 passengers on board, stopped near the intersection of Lancaster Avenue and 38th Street, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to offload passengers. SEPTA trolley 9085 (striking trolley), with 6 passengers on board, was also traveling northwest on trolley route 10, and struck stopped SEPTA trolley 9101 in the rear at an estimated impact speed of 10 mph. First responders transported 40 passengers and both operators to local hospitals for treatment of minor injuries. The total estimated equipment damage to both trolleys was $60,000. At the time of the accident, the sky was partly cloudy, visibility was 10 miles, and the temperature was 54°F.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the operator of the striking trolley to slow and stop his trolley before colliding with the stopped trolley because of his impairment from fatigue and the sedating effects of the repeated doses of over-the-counter antihistamine diphenhydramine. Contributing to the operator’s fatigue was his illness, which negatively affected his medical fitness for duty.

Accident Location: Philadelphia , PA USA  
Accident Date: 1/4/2017
Accident ID: DCA17FR003

Date Adopted: 9/11/2018
NTSB Number: RAB1806
NTIS Number:  

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