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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Train 519

Executive Summary

About 4:38 p.m. central daylight time on October 12, 2003, westbound Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad (Metra) train 519 derailed its two locomotives and five passenger cars as it traversed a crossover from track 1 to track 2 near Control Point 48th Street in Chicago, Illinois. The train derailed at a recorded speed of about 68 mph. The maximum authorized speed through the crossover was 10 mph. There were about 375 passengers and a crew of 3 onboard. As a result of the accident, 47 passengers were transported to eight local hospitals. Of these, 44 were treated and released, and 3 were admitted for observation. Damages from the accident exceeded $5 million.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the derailment of Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad (Metra) train 519 was the locomotive engineer’s loss of situational awareness minutes before the derailment because of his preoccupation with certain aspects of train operations that led to his failure to observe and comply with signal indications. Contributing to the accident was the lack of a positive train control system at the accident location.

Accident Location: Chicago , IL    
Accident Date: 10/12/2003
Accident ID: DCA04MR001

Date Adopted: 11/16/2005
NTSB Number: RAR-05-03
NTIS Number: PB2005-916303