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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad Company's Train No. 20 with Resultant Fire and Tank Car Ruptures

Executive Summary

Train No. 20, an eastbound freight train of the Toledo, Peoria, and Western Railroad Company, consisting of a four-unit diesel-electric locomotive and 109 cars derailed the 20th to the 34th cars, inclusive, at the west switch of the siding in Crescent City, Illinois, at about 6:30 AM on June 21, 1970. Included in the 15 derailed cars were nine tank cars loaded with liquified petroleum gas. During the derailment, one of the tank cars was punctured, and the leaking propane was immediately ignited, engulfing the other tank cars in the fire. A series of explosions of the remaining tank cars occurred, beginning about 1 hour following the derailment, resulting in the injury of 66 person and the destruction of a number of buildings within the town of Crescent City.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the breaking of the L-4 journal of CB & Q 182544, the 20th car, due to excessive overheating, whichpermitted the truck side to drop to the track and derail the leading wheels of the car. The cause of the overheating could not be determined. derailment, jumbling of the derailed cars, and the large volume of propane released when immediately ignited and subjected the other tanks to impingement of fires.

Accident Location: Crescent City , IL USA  
Accident Date: 6/21/1970
Accident ID: 79765

Date Adopted: 3/29/1972
NTSB Number: RAR7202
NTIS Number: PB-210614

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