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Accident Report Detail

Illinois Central Railroad Company and Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company Collision Between Yard Trains

Executive Summary

At 11:08 p.m. September 8, 1970, a collision occurred between Illinois Central (IC) Train 1218 and Indiana Harbor Belt (IHB) Train 8717 at Riverdale, Illinois. The collision of the two yard trains resulted in two fatalities and two serious injuries. Five cars and the caboose of the IC train were derailed and the locomotive cab of the IHB train was demolished. The IHB train was crossing over from an interchange track to an IC main track when the locomotive was struck by the unlighted caboose of the IC train. The IC locomotive was shoving 22 cars, and the caboose had passed a signal indicating "Restricted Proceed" 715 feet prior to impact.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the Illinois Central crewmembers to operate IC Train 1218 at a speed so as to be able to avoid the collision.

Additional factors that contributed to the occurrence of the accident were:

  1. The failure of the Illinois Central crew-members to comply with the rule requiring that a crewman take a conspicuous position on the lead car and display a white light when cars are pushed by an engine.
  2. The failure of the Illinois Central Railroad Company to provide additional protection to accommodate the safe movement of trains on track No. 6 when track changes initiated a permanent display of "Restricted Proceed" on signal 6-1799 in 1969.
  3. Inadequacies in operating rules, practices, and personnel training.

Contributing to the severity of the accident was the apparent lack of clash protection provided to the occupants of the IHB locomotive.

Accident Location: Riverdale , IL    
Accident Date: 9/8/1970
Accident ID: 80169

Date Adopted: 7/8/1971
NTSB Number: RAR-71-03
NTIS Number: PB-206325

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