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Accident Report Detail

Texas and Pacific Work Extra 523/ Missouri Pacific Extra 1902 East, Head On Collision

Executive Summary

This report describes and analyzes a head-on collision which occurred at Taft, La., on February 21, 1973. At 3:30 a.m., westbound Texas and Pacific Work Extra 523 passed beyond its planned stopping point on an industrial siding, made an unauthorized entry onto the main track, and was struck by eastbound Missouri Pacific Extra 1902 East. The three locomotive units of Extra 1902 East, the locomotive unit of Work Extra 523, and 16 cars were derailed as a result of the collision. Three crewmembers on Extra 1902 East were killed, probably in a fire which engulfed the locomotive units; two other crewmembers were injured.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision was the unauthorized intrusion of Work Extra 523 onto the main track, which resulted from the engineer's failure to brake the train in time to stop on the siding. Contributing to the collision were (1) the absence of protective devices to guard against the unplanned intrusion of a train from another track onto the main track and (2) operating practices and work patterns which did not adequately control, switching movements. The absence of crash-injury protection in the locomotive units and caboose of Extra 1902 East contributed to the fatalities and injuries.

Accident Location: Taft , LA    
Accident Date: 2/21/1973
Accident ID: 80167

Date Adopted: 10/25/1973
NTSB Number: RAR-73-06
NTIS Number: PB-225080/1

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