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Accident Report Detail

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company (ATSF) Freight Trains ATSF 818 and ATSF 891 on the ATSF Railway

Executive Summary

On Wednesday, November 7, 1990, about 4:11 a.m. Pacific standard time, two Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company (ATSF) freight trains collided head on at milepost (MP) 25.6 in Corona, California. The westbound ATSF freight train 818, which was traveling from Barstow, California, to Hobart yard, City of Commerce, California, was on the Corona siding. It passed the stop signal, and the lead locomotive reentered the main track area, blocking all movement on the main track. The eastbound ATSF freight train 891, which was traveling from Hobart yard to Chicago, Illinois, was on the main track and collided with train 818. Each train had three-person crews.

As a result of the collision, the entire crew of ATSF 818 was killed and four locomotives and three rail cars were derailed. The engineer and conductor of train 891 sustained serious injuries and the brakeman was killed, all three locomotives and five rail cars were derailed. The total damage was estimated to be $4,400,000.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision was the failure of the engineer of train 818 to stop his train at the stop signal because he was asleep. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the conductor and the brakeman to take action, probably because they too were asleep, to stop the train. Also contributing to the accident were the irregular unpredictable work schedule of the engineer on train 818, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company's lack of a policy or procedure for removing crewmembers from service when they are not fit for duty because of a lack of sleep, and the inadequacy of the Federal rules and regulations that govern hours-of-service.

Accident Location: Corona , CA    
Accident Date: 11/7/1990
Accident ID: DCA91MR002

Date Adopted: 7/23/1991
NTSB Number: RAR-91-03
NTIS Number: PB91-916303

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