Diagram of accident.

​Diagram of accident.​

Norfolk Southern Railway Employee Fatality

What Happened

​On December 13, 2022, about 12:01 a.m. local time, the lead locomotive of Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) freight train A55-12 (train A55) struck a length of steel angle iron protruding from a gondola car on stationary NS freight train 340-12 (train 340) on the Alabama Great Southern South Subdivision in Bessemer, Alabama. Train A55 was traveling northbound about 54 mph on main track 2; train 340 was stopped on main track 1. The gondola car, SSEX 100843 (hereafter the gondola car), was part of a block of 21 railcars recently added to train 340 from a yard track near a U.S. Pipe recycling facility. The section of angle iron was protruding from the top edge of the gondola car on its east side, fouling main track 2 at milepost 153.5. As the lead locomotive of train A55 passed the gondola car on the adjacent track, the section of angle iron penetrated the locomotive’s left-front door window, continued into the operating cab, and struck the conductor trainee. The conductor trainee was killed, and the conductor was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries. Visibility conditions at the time of the accident were dark and clear; the weather was 50°F with no precipitation.

What We Found

​We determined that the probable cause of the December 13, 2022, Norfolk Southern Railway employee fatality was the hazardous condition of a gondola car that was identified by personnel within a U.S. Pipe facility but not communicated to Norfolk Southern Railway or identified by Norfolk Southern Railway personnel during required pre-departure inspections.​​