On November 17, 2020, about 2:26 p.m. local time, Canadian National (CN) train
A-48871-16 operated by an Alabama Export Railroad (ALE) engineer collided with ontrack maintenance equipment belonging to a Continental Rail Incorporated (CR) maintenance-of-way work group near milepost (MP) 3.7 on the Beauregard track in Prichard, Alabama. ALE had contracted CR to install railroad ties for ALE. The on-track maintenance equipment included a full-sized, heavy-duty flatbed truck (boom truck) equipped with a telescopic crane and a backhoe designed to operate on the rails. (See figure.) As a result of the collision, one contractor was killed and three were injured.Material damages were estimated to be $52,000.
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We determined that the probable cause of the Prichard, Alabama, collision of an Alabama Export Railroad freight train and on-track
maintenance equipment was the failure of the engineer to operate his train in accordance with restricted speed requirements and stop before colliding with the equipment because he was engaged in the prohibited use of a personal electronic device. Contributing to the collision was Alabama Export Railroad track protection which did not meet the minimum safety standards in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 214. Also contributing to the collision was the Continental Rail Incorporated roadway work group’s removal of portable derails used for on-track safety protection before they cleared the track.