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Accident Report Detail

Illinois Central Gulf Railroad Company Freight Train Derailment

Executive Summary

About 4:42 a.m. on March 22, 1983, 13 cars (3 tank cars and 10 boxcars) of Illinois. Central Gulf Railroad Company train SML-4-21, 1st No. 64, engine 702, derailed in a 2 left curve at Fort Knox, Kentucky, while moving about 28 mph over an excessively worn, badly shelled rail which tipped and broke. During the derailment, two tank cars containing chloroprene overturned, and chloroprene began leaking from a dome valve of one of the cars. At 9:00 a.m., three E. I. DuPont hazardous material experts from Louisville, Kentucky, arrived at the derailment site. About 9:45 a.m., the leak was stopped Evacuation of the area was not necessary. There were no injuries as a result of the accident. Damage was estimated at $199,831.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the tipping and breaking of an excessively worn, badly shelled curve rail at a point weakened by a detail fracture when it was subjected to normal outward lateral forces. Contributing to the tipping and breaking of the rail were the poorly maintained irregular cross level track and the absence of superelevation of the track on the 2 curve. Also contributing to the accident was the failure of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad management to monitor adequately its track maintenance program and to effectively enforce inspection and maintenance procedures.

Accident Location: Fort Knox , KY    
Accident Date: 3/22/1983
Accident ID: DCA83AR003

Date Adopted: 8/9/1983
NTSB Number: RAR-83-07
NTIS Number: PB83-916307

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