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Accident Report Detail

Safety Recommendation Report: Using Technology to Protect Maintenance-of-Way Employees

Executive Summary

​On April 3, 2016, about 7:50 a.m. eastern daylight time, southbound Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) train 89 struck a backhoe at milepost (MP) 15.7 near Chester, Pennsylvania. Train 89 was authorized to operate on track 3 at the maximum authorized speed of 110 mph. Two days prior to the accident, Amtrak had started track-bed restoration at MP 15.7 on track 2 in this portion of the Northeast Corridor. Track 2 was taken out of service between control points Baldwin (MP 11.7) and Hook (MP 16.8) for the 55-hour duration of the track restoration project.

Probable Cause


As a result of these investigations, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following safety recommendations:

To the Federal Railroad Administration:

Issue a guidance document railroads can use to assess their on-track safety program to ensure it encompasses the role of signal and train control equipment, including redundant protection, such as supplemental shunting devices to protect roadway workers and their equipment. (R-18-024)

Study available technologies that automatically alert maintenance-of-way workers fouling tracks of approaching trains, then require that such technology be implemented as a redundant protective measure. (R-18-025)

Accident Location: Chester , PA USA  
Accident Date: 4/3/2016
Accident ID: DCA16FR007

Date Adopted: 9/28/2018
NTSB Number: RSR1803
NTIS Number: