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Accident Report Detail

Chicago and North Western Transportation Company, Freight Train Derailments and Collision

Executive Summary

About 4:25 a.m. on May 16, 1976, the locomotive and 27 cars of Chicago and North Western freight train No. 242 derailed as they moved eastward on a 154' to 215' compound curve just west of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Another CNW freight train, No. 380, was moving eastward on an adjacent track at the time and struck the derailed cars of No. 242; the locomotive and nine cars of train No. 380 derailed. The tank-head of train No. 380's fifth car was punctured during the derailment by the coupler of an adjacent car; this released anhydrous ammonia into the atmosphere. Fourteen persons were injured as a result of the derailment and release of the ammonia. Damage from the accident was estimated to be $1,914,600.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the overturning of the outside rail of a 154' to 215' compound curve because the rail was unable to withstand the lateral forces of the locomotive induced by the speed of the train on track which did not comply with Federal Track Safety Standards.

Accident Location: Glen Ellyn , IL    
Accident Date: 5/16/1976
Accident ID: 79766

Date Adopted: 3/31/1977
NTSB Number: RAR-77-02
NTIS Number: PB-267939

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