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Accident Report Detail

Head On Collision Between Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company Train No. 88 and the Brunswick Helper

Executive Summary

At 9:56 a.m. on February 9, 1981, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company's Brunswick Helper 7603-7545 and eastbound train No. 88 collided head-on while being operated in opposing directions on the No. 2 eastward main track. The trains collided in a 140' curve about 4,000 feet east of Germantown, Maryland. The fireman and front brakeman of No. 88, and the engineer and front brakeman of the Brunswick Helper were injured. Damage was estimated at $701,000.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the train dispatcher's oversight in authorizing the Brunswick Helper to operate westward on the No. 2 eastward main track between Gaithersburg and Rocks, while opposing train No. 88 was en route eastward on the same track. Contributing to the accident was an inadequate Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company operating procedure which did not provide means for the train dispatcher and the tower operator to positively verify the location of all trains between Rocks and QN Tower, and did not provide for a backup system that would require coworkers to verify train locations when train orders are being used.

Accident Location: Germantown , MD    
Accident Date: 2/9/1981
Accident ID: DCA81AR018

Date Adopted: 5/27/1981
NTSB Number: RAR-81-06
NTIS Number: PB81-218877

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