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Accident Report Detail

Collision of Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Train 102 with a Tractor-Trailer

Executive Summary

​About 4:31 a.m. central daylight time on June 18, 1998, a westbound Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District two-car passenger train struck the second semitrailer of a long combination vehicle that consisted of a tractor pulling two flatbed semitrailers loaded with steel coils at a highway-rail grade crossing near Portage, Indiana. When the vehicles collided, the second semitrailer broke away from the first semitrailer and was dragged by the front of the train, while the single chain securing a steel coil to the second semitrailer broke. The released steel coil, weighing about 19 tons, entered the train through the front bulkhead of the lead car and moved into the passenger compartment. Three fatalities and five minor injuries resulted from the accident. Damages were estimated to total $886,000.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision between Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District train 102 and a long combination vehicle (truck) at the National Steel Corporation’s Midwest Steel grade crossing was ineffective action by Federal, State, and private agencies to permanently resolve safety problems at the Midwest Steel grade crossing, which they knew to be a hazardous crossing.

Accident Location: Portage , IN    
Accident Date: 6/18/1998
Accident ID: DCA98MR003

Date Adopted: 7/26/1999
NTSB Number: RAR-99-03
NTIS Number: PB99-916303