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Accident Report Detail

​Illinois Central Gulf Railroad and Mobile Oil Company Tractor/Cargo-Tank Semitrailer Collision and Fire

Executive Summary

About 6:58 p.m., on November 25, 1980, a southbound tractor/cargo-tank semitrailer loaded with 8,600 gallons of gasoline approached a railroad/highway grade crossing on Williams Boulevard in Kenner, Louisiana. The vehicle was driven around the grade crossing automatic gates which were down and was struck by an eastbound Illinois Central Gulf Railroad freight train. The freight train's lights were illuminated, its whistle was sounding, and its bell was ringing. The overturning semitrailer struck a northbound automobile stopped at the crossing. Gasoline flowing from the ruptured cargo tank ignited. The burning gasoline destroyed the automobile, a building, the semitrailer, and damaged 19 other automobiles. The train locomotive was derailed and was damaged by fire. Seven persons were killed and six others were injured in the accident.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the truckdriver to obey the activated warning devices and his attempt to drive the truck across the railroad/highway grade crossing ahead of the freight train. Contributing to the severity of this accident and loss of life was the rupture of the cargo tank and the ignition of the gasoline cargo.

Accident Location: Kenner , LA    
Accident Date: 11/25/1980
Accident ID: DCA81AH003

Date Adopted: 5/29/1981
NTSB Number: RHR-81-01
NTIS Number: PB81-221376

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