Illustrated aerial view of accident scene.

​Illustrated aerial view of accident scene. (Source: Google Earth.)

Norfolk Southern Railway Conductor Fatality

What Happened

​​This information is preliminary and subject to change. Release date: 20 March 2023

​On March 7, 2023, about 1:08 a.m. local time, a Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) conductor on NS train C75B106 was killed when the train he was riding collided with a dump truck as they simultaneously entered a private highway–railroad grade crossing (private grade crossing) in the Cleveland-Cliffs Incorporated steel plant in Cleveland, Ohio. (See figure.) The conductor was riding on the end platform of the lead railcar during a shoving movement when he was pinned between the railcar and the dump truck during the collision. NS and TMS International (the truck owner) estimated total damages to equipment to be about $42,000. Visibility conditions at the time of the accident were dark and clear; the weather was 34°F with no precipitation.

​The crew of train C75B106 consisted of an engineer in the locomotive cab and the conductor. The train was composed of 1 locomotive and 12 mixed railcars: 4 residue tank cars and 8 empty covered hopper cars. The dump truck was driven by a TMS International employee and was hauling rock at the time of the collision. Cleveland Cliffs surveillance camera data reviewed by National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators show the dump truck traveling south through the plant, stopping at the private grade crossing, and then proceeding through the crossing. Based on event recorder data, the train was traveling about 9 mph at the time of the collision; the maximum authorized speed within the steel plant was 10 mph. The private grade crossing where the accident occurred was equipped with stop signs facing both directions of approach.

While on scene, NTSB investigators reviewed data from surveillance cameras and the locomotive event recorder, conducted sight distance observations at the private grade crossing, and completed interviews.

As a result of this accident, on March 16, 2023, the Federal Railroad Administration issued “Safety Advisory 2023-02: Highway-Rail Grade Crossing and Shove Movement Accident,” noting the importance of proper training, oversight, job briefings, and crew communication to protect safety at highway–railroad grade crossings.

The NTSB’s investigation is ongoing. Future investigative activity will focus on industry-wide operational rules for conductors riding equipment through highway–railroad grade crossings and Cleveland-Cliffs’ methods of protection at private grade crossings.

Parties to the investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; NS; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen; the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; TMS International; and Cleveland Cliffs.​

[1] Download the full text of the advisory.