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Accident Report Detail

Rear End Collision of New York City Transit Authority Subway Trains 142NL and 132NL

Executive Summary

About 1:45 p.m. on July 3, 1981, New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) train 142NL struck the rear of NYCTA train 132NL north of the Sutter Avenue Station in Brooklyn, New York. The collision was preceded by a signal failure in the area at 11:12 a.m. which the NYCTA command center was not aware of. Trains were continually dispatched into the failure area at other than scheduled times, without being warned about the inoperative signals, until 1:37 p.m. During this time, signal department employees were flagging trains by the inoperative signals while attempting to determine the cause of the failure. The motorman of train 142NL was killed, and 140 passengers and crewmembers on the trains were injured. Estimated damage was $543,200.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the motorman of train 142NL to maintain a diligent lookout ahead and stop short of a collision with the rear of train 132NL, and the failure of the New York City Transit Authority to provide effective operating and maintenance procedures which would protect trains when the signal system was malfunctioning. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the NYCTA's tolerance of unsafe operating and maintenance practices and inadequate training of operating employees regarding the functional differences of its two signal systems.

Accident Location: Brooklyn , NY    
Accident Date: 7/3/1981
Accident ID: DCA82AR008

Date Adopted: 5/14/1982
NTSB Number: RAR-82-02
NTIS Number: PB82-916302

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