News & Reviews News Wire NTSB to look at crossing design, railcar crashworthiness as Chief investigation continues

NTSB to look at crossing design, railcar crashworthiness as Chief investigation continues

By Trains Staff | July 22, 2022

| Last updated on February 23, 2024

Preliminary report establishes basic facts of fatal June 27 accident

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Aerial view of locomotives damaged in derailment
The lead locomotive on the Southwest Chief shows damage from the June 27 grade-crossing collision with a dump truck and subsequent derailment. The NTSB has released its preliminary accident report. Sol Tucker

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board says grade-crossing design specifications and railcar crashworthiness will be among the factors it continues to examine as it investigates the fatal grade-crossing collision and derailment involving Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

The NTSB released its preliminary report Thursday on the June 27 accident near Mendon, Mo. The preliminary report outlines basic facts of the accident but does not draw any conclusions or make any recommendations as to corrective action; those will come in the final report, which can take up to 18 months.

The report says 270 passengers and 12 crew members were on board train No. 4 when it struck a fully loaded dump truck at the grade crossing for County Road 113, also known as Porsche Prairie Avenue, at about 12:42 p.m. The crossing on BNSF Railway’s Marceline Subdivision had no gates or warning lights, but was protected by crossbucks and a stop sign as the truck approached from the south. The impact sent the truck into a ditch northeast of the crossing, while the two locomotives and all eights cars of the train derailed, with seven ending up on their sides.

Four people were killed, many others injured, and damage was estimated by Amtrak and BNSF Railway to be about $4 million.

The NTSB’s investigation to date has included review of locomotive event and image recorders and the truck’s engine control module, as well as interviews. The agency says it will also look at railcar design and survival factors as the investigation continues

5 thoughts on “NTSB to look at crossing design, railcar crashworthiness as Chief investigation continues

  1. I’m glad those who already ‘know’ the cause aren’t the ones conducting the investigation. Sightlines, crossing elevation, mechanical condition of the truck, physical condition of the driver (including possible medical impairment) will all be reviewed. Sure, crossing gates probably would have prevented the accident, but that’s not going to happen on a widespread basis.

  2. Can’t disagree Charles, cross bucks & stop signs. What more does a person need ? More personal responsibility.

  3. What was revealed by this crash that wasn’t widely known before?

    Protection of passengers in a catastrophic crash was investigated after the Maryland crash in 1989 —- 33.5 years ago.

    Grade crossings have been around even longer than that.

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