The information in this report is preliminary and will be either supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation.
On February 7, 2019, about 7:00 a.m. eastern standard time, a Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS) railroad conductor, who was working with an engineer as part of a switching crew, was fatally injured while performing switching operations in Bayview Yard, Baltimore, Maryland. The conductor was standing on a ladder on the last railcar while the train was moving in reverse from one track to another. At the time of the accident, the sky was clear with few clouds, the temperature was 44°F, and wind was variable at 3 miles per hour. The sun rose about 8 minutes after the accident.
Figure 1. The clearance between the two passing railcars.
After going on duty at 6:00 a.m., the engineer and conductor reviewed their switching orders, completed their job safety briefing, and departed the yard office to drop off railcars in the train-van terminal tracks. After that task was complete, they positioned the train for a reverse movement and aligned the switches to transfer onto another track. With the conductor standing on a ladder on the last of the train’s four railcars, the train traveled in reverse onto that track, passing a standing set of empty intermodal double-stack railcars on the adjacent track. As the train passed those railcars, the conductor became caught between the railcars and was killed.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigation is ongoing. Future investigative activity will focus on NS operating rules, special safety rules regarding Bayview Yard, and train crew training and oversight.
Parties to the investigation include NS; the Federal Railroad Administration; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Railroad Division.