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Accident Report Detail

Collision of Amtrak Train 66, The Night Owl with on-track maintenance- of-way equipment

Executive Summary

About 12 36 p m eastern standard time on January 29, 1988, northbound National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train 66, The Night Owl, struck maintenance-of-way equipment on track 2 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The engineer of train 66 received serious injuries, and 8 crewmembers and 15 passengers received minor injuries. The estimated damage as a result of this accident was $3,397,215.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the third-shift tower operator at Hook tower, because of impairment by drugs or distraction or both, to operate the 7 switch to allow train 66 to crossover from track 2 to track 1 and the failure of Amtrak to provide positive protection for on-track equipment and out-of-service tracks. Contributing to the accident was Amtrak's failure to adequately monitor the activities and job performance of the tower operator.

Accident Location: Chester , PA    
Accident Date: 1/29/1988
Accident ID: DCA88MR004

Date Adopted: 1/6/1989
NTSB Number: RAR-89-01
NTIS Number: PB89-916301