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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Amtrak Auto Train on the CSXT Railroad

Executive Summary

About 5:08 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 18, 2002, northbound National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train P052-18, the Auto Train, derailed 21 of 40 cars on CSX Transportation (CSXT) track near Crescent City, Florida. The train derailed in a left-hand curve while traveling about 56 mph. The train was carrying 413 passengers and 33 Amtrak employees. The derailment resulted in 4 fatalities, 36 serious injuries, and 106 minor injuries. The equipment and track costs associated with the accident totaled about $8.3 million.​

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the April 18, 2002, derailment of Amtrak Auto Train P052-18 near Crescent City, Florida, was a heat-induced track buckle that developed because of inadequate CSX Transportation track-surfacing operations, including misalignment of the curve, insufficient track restraint, and failure to reestablish an appropriate neutral rail temperature.​

Accident Location: Crescent City , FL    
Accident Date: 4/18/2002
Accident ID: DCA02MR003

Date Adopted: 8/5/2003
NTSB Number: RAR-03-02
NTIS Number: PB2003-916302