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Accident Report Detail

Rear End Collision of Seaboard System Railroad Freight Trains Extra 8051 North and Extra 1751 North

Executive Summary

At 5:32 a.m., c.d.t., on September 14, 1983, Seaboard System Railroad train Extra 1751 North moved onto the main track from the north end of the siding at Sullivan, Indiana, and proceeded northward. About 5:37 a.m., after Extra 1751 North had attained a speed of approximately 18 mph and had traveled 1,939 feet beyond the siding switch, Seaboard train Extra 8051 North, moving about 35 mph, overtook and struck the rear caboose of Extra 1751 North. The impact derailed 2 cars and 2 cabooses of Extra 1751 North and 3 locomotive units and 25 cars of Extra 8051 North. The two crewmembers in the rear caboose of Extra 1751 North were killed, and three crewmembers on Extra 8051 North were injured.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of both head-end crewmembers of Extra 8051 North to remain alert due to the use of alcohol on duty, which resulted in their failure to observe the speed restrictions imposed by the governing wayside signals and to control the movement of the train accordingly. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the lack of an alerting device on the locomotive which would have stopped the train in the event the operator failed to respond to the alarm, and the lack of a requirement for the head-end crew to communicate the wayside signal aspects to the rear-end crew.

Accident Location: Sullivan , IN    
Accident Date: 9/14/1983
Accident ID: DCA83AR009

Date Adopted: 5/15/1984
NTSB Number: RAR-84-02
NTIS Number: PB84-916302

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