On June 28, 2016, two trains barreled into one another near Amarillo, Texas. Each train was carrying two crew members. While one crew member was able to jump to safety, the three others tragically died.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released a report detailing the results of a preliminary investigation into the cause of this fatal crash.
According to the report, the trains collided at milepost 525.4 on the BNSF’s Panhandle Subdivision. The westbound train was routed to a Panhandle control point siding at milepost 526.1 and the eastbound train was supposed to hold at the main track before the east end of the siding.
According to the NTSB, train movements in the area of the accident are governed by a traffic control system. A review of the signal event recorder data and tests reveal that the last signal passed by the eastbound train prior to the collision was a red stop signal. The previous signal passed by the eastbound train was a yellow approach signal. A yellow signal requires that a train reduce its speed to a maximum of 40 miles per hour and be prepared to stop at the next signal. A red stop signal requires a train to stop before any part of the train passes the signal.
Thus, although the investigation is ongoing and the results are subject to supplementation and correction, it appears this fatal accident occurred because the eastbound train failed to stop so that the westbound train could pass.
The risk of injury or death due to a driver’s negligent failure to heed traffic signals is always present. This accident shows what can happen when such negligence occurs on a larger scale.
If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligence of another, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884.