Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Bookmark and Share this page

Accident Report Detail

Collision and Derailment of Union Pacific Railroad Freight Trains 5981 North and 9186 South

Executive Summary

At 10:52 p.m. on June 22, 1997, Union Pacific Railroad (UP) freight trains 5981 North and 9186 South collided head-on in Devine, Texas. The trains were operating on a single main track with passing sidings in dark (nonsignalized) territory in which train movement was governed by conditional track warrant control authority through a dispatcher. The conductor from 5981 North, the engineer from 9186 South, and two unidentified individuals who may have been riding on 5981 North were killed in the derailment and subsequent fire. The engineer from 5981 North received minor injuries, and the conductor from 9186 South was seriously burned. Estimated damages exceeded $6 million.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this acci-dent was the failure of the third-shift dispatcher to communicate the correct track warrant infor-mation to the traincrew and to verify the accu-racy of the read-back information because the UP management had not established and imple-mented workload policies and operational pro-cedures to ensure a safe dispatching system and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) had failed to provide standards and oversight in all aspects of train dispatching operations. Contrib-uting to the accident was the lack of an installed positive train separation control system that would have prevented the trains from colliding by automatically intervening in their operation because of inappropriate actions being taken.

Accident Location: Devine , TX    
Accident Date: 6/22/1997
Accident ID: DCA97MR001

Date Adopted: 5/19/1998
NTSB Number: RAR-98-02
NTIS Number: PB98-916302