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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company Intermodal Freight Train S-CHILAC1-31

Executive Summary

‚ÄčAbout 6:10 a.m., central daylight time, on September 2, 1998, the 17th through 19th cars and the first two platforms of the five-platform 20th car of westbound Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company intermodal freight train S-CHILAC1-31 derailed at Crisfield, Kansas. The accident occurred when the 18th car from the locomotive, DTTX 72318, an articulated, five-platform, 125-ton double-stack car, experienced a separation between the floor shear plate and bulkhead bottom angle at the leading end of the car's B platform. The separation allowed the car to sag below the rails, catch a part of a switch, and derail.

The train was traveling 68 mph through the east siding switch at Crisfield, milepost 291.7, on the Panhandle Subdivision of the railroad's Amarillo Division, when it began to derail. The train then went into emergency braking and stopped after traveling about 1/2 mile. The derailment resulted in a pileup involving four articulated multiplatform cars carrying intermodal shipping containers. Some of the containers were breached, resulting in the release of hazardous materials and fires. About 200 people were evacuated within a 5-mile radius. No injuries resulted from either the derailment or the hazardous materials releases. Estimated damage was $1.3 million.

Probable Cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the structural failure of intermodal car DTTX 72318 due to fatigue cracking initiated when a container was misloaded onto a foreign object. The misloading of the container occurred because of the railroad industry's inadequate preloading inspection procedures for double-stack well cars. Contributing to the accident was the improper and undocumented repair of the car.

Accident Location: Crisfield , KS    
Accident Date: 9/2/1998
Accident ID: CHI98FR012

Date Adopted: 7/17/2000
NTSB Number: RAR-00-01
NTIS Number: PB2000-916201