About 2:15 a.m., July 2, 1997, westbound Union Pacific (UP) freight train NP-01, operating on a siding track, proceeded past a wayside stop signal at the end of the siding and collided with the side of eastbound UP freight train ME-29, which was operating on a mainline track on the UP railroad near Delia, Kansas. The NP-01 train engineer was killed, and the NP-01 train conductor sustained minor injuries.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this collision and derailment was the failure of the of the NP-01 engineer to stop at the stop signal, enabled by the failure of UP management to ensure redundant safety systems for train operations and control, including effective crew resource management techniques and technological advances for crew alertness. Contributing to the collision and derailment was the failure of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the railroad industry to aggressively develop and implement a positive train separation (PTS) control system.
The major safety issues discussed in this report are the NP-01 train engineer’s performance, crew resource management, the UP’s fatigue education program, and PTS control system.
As a result of its investigation of this accident, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the FRA, the UP, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and the United Transportation Union.