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Accident Report Detail

Head End Collision of Nine Burlington Northern Loco Units with a Standard Freight Train

Executive Summary

On February 16, 1980, Burlington Northern (BN) freight train Extra 2048 East (No. 178) stalled on an ascending grade about 4.7 miles west of Angora, Nebraska. The crew was instructed to uncouple the three-unit locomotive from the train and move it east to Angora to meet the six-unit locomotive of Extra 7814 West at Angora. The nine locomotive units were coupled together and moved westward on the descending grade toward the standing train. While moving at a speed of about 46 mph, the locomotive units collided with the standing portion of train No. 178. The head brakeman of train No. 178 and the engineer of Extra 7814 West were killed, and three crewmembers of Extra 7814 were injured. Damage was estimated at $1,291,000.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the engineer of train No. 178 to control the speed of the nine locomotive units on the return downgrade trip to the standing train. Contributing to the accident were the improper coupling of the nine locomotive units; the lack of sufficient supervision and instructions; the failure of the conductors of the two trains and the engineer of BN Extra 7814 West to perform their duties properly; and the failure of the train dispatcher to issue adequate orders and instructions.

Accident Location: Angora , NE    
Accident Date: 2/16/1980
Accident ID: 79774

Date Adopted: 8/12/1980
NTSB Number: RAR-80-07
NTIS Number: PB80-219082

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