Crew Error Blamed for 2010 Head-On Freight Train Crash
Posted at: 02/12/2013 1:51 PM
| Updated at: 02/12/2013 1:56 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
A 2010 freight train collision near Two Harbors that injured all five crew members is being blamed on a crew error, according to the National Transportation Safety Board in a report adopted Tuesday.
The collision of the two Canadian National Railway freight trains happened on September 30, and the NTSB says it was caused by an error made by the crew of the southbound train.
According to the NTSB, "the crew departed a railroad siding without permission and before the northbound train had passed...the trains were operating in non-signaled track territory."
The NTSB says the northbound train had 118 empty iron ore railcars and have been given authority to operate on the single track. The agency says the southbound train had 116 railcars loaded with iron ore, however, it did not have authority to operate on that track. As a result of the collision, three locomotives and 14 railcars derailed.
The NTSB also noted that crew fatigue and inadequate crew resource management contributed to the accident.
"Since 1996, the NTSB has investigated four other head-on collisions where after-arrival track authority was causal," said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "Relying on a system that depends on error-free human performance for safety is a recipe for disaster."
As a result of the investigation, the NTSB said it has made safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration and several railroad companies and associations, including CN, Union Pacific Railroad, and Norfolk Southern Railroad.