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Accident Report Detail

​Collision of the Southern Railway Work Train with a Polk District Schoolbus

Executive Summary

About 7:55 a.m. e.d.t., on October 23, 1974, a Polk District schoolbus carrying 87 students was struck on a grade crossing in Aragon, Georgia, by the caboose of a Southern Railway System work train. The train, which consisted of a locomotive and 12 cars, was backing through the crossing. Failing to stop at or near the point of impact, the train pushed the schoolbus 315 feet down the track. During the movement the caboose overrode the bus as that vehicle rolled onto its roof. The roof of the bus was crushed to the level of the seat tops. There were no ejections or fire. Seven of the occupants of the bus were killed. The busdriver and 71 of the students were known to be injured. None of the occupants of the train were injured.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the driver of the schoolbus to stop his vehicle short of the track until it was safe to proceed and the failure of a crewmember of the train to guard the unprotected crossing.

Accident Location: Aragon , GA    
Accident Date: 10/23/1974
Accident ID: 80181

Date Adopted: 7/7/1975
NTSB Number: RHR-75-01
NTIS Number: PB-244467/AS

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