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Accident Report Detail

Collision of Illinois Central Gulf Railroad Commuter Trains

Executive Summary

This report describes and analyzes the collision of two Illinois Central Gulf Railroad commuter trains in Chicago, Ill., on the morning of October 30, 1972. A train consisting of four new Highliner cars overran a station stop, attempted to back up to the platform, and was struck from the rear by another train operating on the same track. The first car of the following train over-rode the underframe of the last car of the lead train and telescoped the car.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the reverse movement of train 416 (the lead train) without flag protection into a previously vacated signal block and the failure of the engineer of train 720 (the following train), while operating faster than the prescribed speed, to perceive the train ahead in time to avoid the collision. Ambiguous rules which caused confusion among employees regarding the necessity to flag within automatic-block signal system limits and the reduced importance of flagging in suburban service implied by the management's failure to enforce Rules 7, 35, 99, 896, and 1003 also contributed to the accident.

Accident Location: Chicago , IL    
Accident Date: 10/30/1972
Accident ID: 80002

Date Adopted: 6/28/1973
NTSB Number: RAR-73-05
NTIS Number: PB-221766

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