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Accident Report Detail

Side Collision & Derailment of Norfolk & Western Railway Company Trains Nos. 6BS78, Yard Shifter, and 67HNP

Executive Summary

About 8:20 a.m. on Saturday, November 28, 1981, Norfolk & Western Railway Company freight train No. 6BS78 after receiving a proceed signal indicating a clear main track route, entered a misaligned crossover leading from the eastbound main track onto yard track No. 1 at Crewe, Virginia, sideswiped coal-laden hopper cars being handled by the yard shifter, and then caromed into freight cars of freight train No. 67HNP, which was on the adjacent westbound main track. Two locomotive units and seven cars of train No. 6BS78, nine cars of train No. 67HNP, seven cars on yard track No. 1, and four cars standing on yard track No. 3 were derailed or damaged. The conductor of train No. 67HNP and the front brakeman of train No. 6BS78 received minor injuries as a result of the accident. Damage was estimated to be about $690,305.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the display of a false proceed aspect at the entrance to the signal block in which a conflicting route had been lined and the fact that the crew of train No. 6BS78 could not see the misaligned switch in time to stop their train short of a collision. Contributing to the accident were (1) inadequate supervision to insure compliance with operating rules regarding the alignment of switches, (2) the lack of coordinating procedures in the Maintenance of Way and Signal and Communication Departments which would insure the presence of a signal maintainer when maintenance of way work which might affect signals was undertaken, and (3) careless performance of scheduled inspections of signalized switches.

Accident Location: Crewe , VA    
Accident Date: 11/28/1981
Accident ID: DCA82AR007

Date Adopted: 5/18/1982
NTSB Number: RAR-82-03
NTIS Number: PB82-916303

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