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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Penn Central Freight Train B-4 and Collision of Southern Railway Passenger Train No. 6 with Derailed Car

Executive Summary

At 10:17 p.m., on April 27, 1972, eight cars in Penn Central freight train B-4 derailed as the train was moving at about 8 m.p.h. into the Potomac Yard in Arlington, Va. One of the derailed cars fouled the adjacent No. 2 main track of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad Company and was struck by Southern Railway passenger train No. 6 about 6 to 8 minutes later. The four-unit diesel-electric locomotive of the passenger train and the three occupied passenger cars were derailed. There were no serious injuries.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the derailment of the freight cars was a defective rail, which broke while the train was passing over it. The probable cause of the collision between the passenger train on the adjacent main track and the derailed B-4 freight car was that the crewmembers of B-4 did not flag the passenger train as they were required to do by the operating rules.

Accident Location: Arlington , VA    
Accident Date: 4/27/1972
Accident ID: 79983

Date Adopted: 2/28/1973
NTSB Number: RAR-73-02
NTIS Number: PB-220109

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