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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Auto Train No. 4 on Seaboard Coast Line Railroad (Revised)

Executive Summary

About 2:10 a.m., on February 24, 1978, 19 cars and a locomotive unit of Auto-Train No. 4 derailed on Seaboard Coast Line Railroad trackage at Florence, South Carolina. Twenty-four of the 503 passengers were injured. The total accident damage was estimated to be $774,029.

Probable Cause

On September 21, 1978, the National Transportation Safety Board adopted the accident report and probable cause of the accident. On April 25, 1983, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation submitted a petition for reconsideration of probable cause of the probable cause that was adopted in the original report. As a result of Bethlehem Steel Corporation's petition, the accident report and the probable cause have been revised.

The Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was a locomotive unit axle failure that originated from an overheated traction motor suspension bearing on the second unit of the two-unit locomotive consist. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the lack of an onboard system for detecting a bearing failure independent of crewmembers' inspection.

Accident Location: Florence , SC    
Accident Date: 2/24/1978
Accident ID: 79968

Date Adopted: 6/27/1984
NTSB Number: RAR-84-03
NTIS Number: PB84-916303

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