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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Amtrak Train on Louisville and Nashville Railroad

Executive Summary

About 4:15 a.m., on January 16, 1977, 1 locomotive unit and 12 cars of Amtrak train No. 315 derailed on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company's track near New Castle, Alabama. Seventy-six of the 129 persons on board the train were injured. Property and equipment damage was estimated to be $578,000.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the tipping of the east rail which caused the track gage to widen. The gage widened because the track structure was not able to withstand the lateral forces generated by oscillations of the locomotive trucks as the train moved around a 5 curve. The oscillations were generated by variations in track alignment and superelevation that complied with Federal Track Safety Standards for Class 3 track and by the ineffectiveness of a vertical snubbing device on the second locomotive unit.

Accident Location: New Castle , AL    
Accident Date: 1/16/1977
Accident ID: 79980

Date Adopted: 10/20/1977
NTSB Number: RAR-77-09
NTIS Number: PB-275175/AS

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