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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Amtrak Train No. 4 the Southwest Limited on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company

Executive Summary

About 6:10 a.m., on October 2, 1979, Amtrak passenger train No. 4, the Southwest Limited, derailed 3 locomotive units and 17 cars while moving through a 7 curve on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company's tracks at Lawrence, Kansas. The speed of the train was 78 mph. Of the 147 passengers and 30 crewmembers, 2 persons were killed and 69 persons were injured. Property damage was estimated at $4,634,330.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the operation of the train at an excessive rate of speed into a 7 curve. The engineer failed to reduce the speed of the train because of a missing speed-restriction sign, inoperative automatic train stop equipment, and his unfamiliarity with the route. Contributing to the accident were the assignment of an engineer who did not meet the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company's operating familiarization qualifications for the route, and a resume-speed sign placed within 1,100 feet of the missing speed-restriction sign.

Accident Location: Lawrence , KS    
Accident Date: 10/2/1979
Accident ID: 79975

Date Adopted: 4/29/1980
NTSB Number: RAR-80-04
NTIS Number: PB80-191190

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