On June 10, 2017, at 10:12 a.m. eastern daylight time, Long Island Rail Road train 7623 on track 3 approached a five-member crew of roadway workers at the interlocking in Queens Village, New York. The foreman and three roadway workers were inspecting and making minor repairs to track 1 within the Queens Interlocking. A fifth roadway worker was clear of the tracks, keeping pace with the work group. Upon seeing train 7623, the watchman/lookout sounded a handheld horn, yelled at the other workmen, and raised a disc that told the locomotive engineer to sound the train’s horn. The locomotive engineer then sounded the train’s horn. Three of the roadway workers remained in track 1, but the foreman stepped into the path of the train on track 3 and was killed. The train was traveling about 78 mph when the locomotive engineer applied the emergency brakes just before impact.
The probable cause of the accident was Long Island Rail Road’s decision to use train approach warning to protect the roadway workers on active tracks. Contributing to the accident was Long Island Rail Road’s and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers’ allowance of overtime work schedules without properly considering and mitigating workers’ risk of fatigue.
We made recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers. Previous recommendations to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.