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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Amtrak Train on Burlington Northern Railroad

Executive Summary

About 2:45 a.m., on December 16,1976, 1 SDP-40F locomotive unit and 11 cars of Amtrak train No. 6 derailed when leaving a 2 degrees 30' curve on the Burlington Northern track near Ralston, Nebraska. Forty-eight of the 178 passengers, and 15 of the 19 crewmembers on the train were injured. Property damage was estimated to be $816,000.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the lateral movement of the high rail and widening of track gage when the deteriorated crossties were unable to withstand the lateral forces generated by the locomotive while the train was traveling at a speed of 53 mph. Contributing factors were the weakened crosstie spikehole condition and the existing wide gage that conformed to the Federal Track Safety Standards for Class 4 track.

Accident Location: Ralston , NE    
Accident Date: 12/16/1976
Accident ID: 79979

Date Adopted: 10/6/1977
NTSB Number: RAR-77-08
NTIS Number: PB-275171/AS

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