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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of National Railroad Passenger Corporation Train 7, on Burlington Northern Railroad

Executive Summary

About 3 15 p m mountain daylight time on August 5, 1988, westbound National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train 7, The Empire Builder, derailed near Saco, Montana, while operating on the Burlington Northern (BN) Railroad. Five passengers and 1 Amtrak service crewmember received serious injuries, 87 passengers and 13 Amtrak service crewmembers received minor injuries. The estimated damage was $2,778,000.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was Burlington Northern's inadequate track inspection and maintenance procedures, which resulted in a thermally induced lateral shift of the track structure in front of Amtrak train 7, and Burlington Northern's failure to impose a slow order on the disturbed section of track.

Accident Location: Saco , MT    
Accident Date: 8/5/1988
Accident ID: DCA88MR007

Date Adopted: 4/11/1989
NTSB Number: RAR-89-03
NTIS Number: PB89-916303

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