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Accident Report Detail

Head-End Collision of Consolidated Rail Corporation Freight Trains UBT-506 and TV-61

Executive Summary

About 7.54 a.m., est, on January 14, 1988, westbound Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail)"trail van" freight train TV-61 collided with eastbound Conrail freight train UBT-506 near Control point Thompson, Thompsontown, Pennsylvania. The engineers and brakemen on both trains were fatally inured. The conductors on both trains received minor injuries Damage to the trains was estimated at $6,015,000.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the sleep-deprived condition of the engineer and other crewmembers of train UBT-506, which resulted in their inability to stay awake and alert, and their consequent failure to comply with restrictive signal aspects. Contributing to the failure of the crewmembers were their unpredictable work/rest cycles, their voluntary lack of proper rest before going on duty, and the inadequate alertness and acknowledging devices of the locomotive safety backup systems. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the failure of the engineer of train TV-61 to adequately reduce the speed of his train in conformance with a restricting cab signal and the inability of the dispatcher to recognize the emergency because of the inadequacies in the computer-based traffic control system.

Accident Location: Thompsontown , PA    
Accident Date: 1/14/1988
Accident ID: DCA88MR003

Date Adopted: 2/14/1989
NTSB Number: RAR-89-02
NTIS Number: PB89-916302

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