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Accident Report Detail

Head On Collision of Two Penn Central Freight Trains

Executive Summary

At 5:27 a.m, on March 12, 1972, Penn Central freight train UY—328 (Extra 7095 East) collided bead on with Penn Central freight train S-82 (Extra 7828 West) at Herndon, Pa. Train UY—328 consisted of a two—unit diesel locomotive, 104 cars loaded with coal, and a caboose; train S—82 consisted of a two—unit locomotive, 103 cars, and a caboose. Three of the four locomotive units were destroyed and the other was heavily damaged in the accident The engineer and head brakeman on both trains were killed.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the crew to stop train UY-328 on the siding, in violation of the signal indication. As a result, train UY—328 moved onto the main track immediately in front of train S-82. It could not be determined why the engineer of train UY-328 failed to stop his train on the siding. Among several possibilities, the Board considers it most probable that the engineer and head brakeman had fallen asleep and had failed to see the stop aspect displayed by the signal which directs the movement of trains from the siding onto the main track.

Accident Location: Herndon , PA    
Accident Date: 3/12/1972
Accident ID: 79792

Date Adopted: 3/14/1973
NTSB Number: RAR-73-03
NTIS Number: PB-220110

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