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Accident Report Detail

Collision of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Freight Train With Metrolink Passenger Train

Executive Summary

‚ÄčOn Tuesday, April 23, 2002, about 8:10 a.m. Pacific daylight time, eastbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway freight train PLACCLO3-22 collided head on with standing westbound Southern California Regional Rail Authority passenger train 809 on the No. 2 track at Control Point Atwood in Placentia, California. Emergency response agencies reported that 162 persons were transported to local hospitals. There were two fatalities. Damage was estimated at $4.6 million.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the April 23, 2002, collision of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train and a Metrolink commuter train in Placentia, California, was the freight train crew's inattentiveness to the signal system and their failure to observe, recognize, and act on the approach signal at milepost 42.31. Contributing to the accident was the absence of a positive train control system that would have automatically stopped the freight train short of the stop signal and thus prevented the collision.

Accident Location: Placentia , CA    
Accident Date: 4/23/2002
Accident ID: DCA02MR004

Date Adopted: 10/7/2003
NTSB Number: RAR-03-04
NTIS Number: PB2003-916304