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Accident Report Detail

National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) Head End Collision of Train No. 111 and Plasser Track Machine Equipment

Executive Summary

About 12:03 p.m., e.s.t., on April 20, 1979, National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) passenger train No. 111 collided head-on with an Amtrak Plasser track machine at Edison, New Jersey. The track machine was destroyed, and the locomotive was heavily damaged. The lead truck of the passenger car behind the locomotive derailed. Seventy-one persons were treated for minor injuries, and one passenger and one onboard attendant were admitted to the hospital. Total property damage was about $353,600.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of (1) the train dispatcher to issue proper orders and to secure the route for the movement of the track machine and (2) a block operator to secure the traffic direction and route for the movement of the track machine. Contributing to the accident was the failure of several block operators to comply with operating instructions by permitting the track machine to proceed without securing proper authority. Also contributing to the accident was the operation of a passenger train with an inoperative radio.

Accident Location: Edison , NJ    
Accident Date: 4/20/1979
Accident ID: 80164

Date Adopted: 9/13/1979
NTSB Number: RAR-79-10
NTIS Number: PB80-108673

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