NTSB determines probable cause for 2019 SEPTA worker fatality

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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SEPTA releases Accident Brief on 2019 worker fatality.

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined the probable cause of a SEPTA accident on July 8, 2019. Two excerpts from the press release are reproduced below, with a link to the full Accident Brief at the end.

The Accident

“On Monday, July 8, 2019, about 5:21 p.m. local time, northbound Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) train 46, struck two SEPTA roadway workers on express track 3 (track 3) on SEPTA’s Broad Street Subway Line in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.1 One worker was killed, and the other was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Prior to the accident, a southbound SEPTA train (train41) was operating on express track 2 (track 2) just north of SEPTA’s Erie interlocking and passed the workers. Simultaneously, northbound train 46 struck the roadway workers as it departed the Erie Station on track 3. (See figure.)”

1 (a) All times in this document are local times unless otherwise noted. (b) All tracks discussed in this report are part of the Broad Street subway line. (c) For more detailed information about this accident investigation, see the public docket at https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket/Forms/searchdocket and search for accident number RRD19FR009. Use the CAROL Query to search safety recommendations and investigations.

Figure. Diagram of accident location on Broad Street Subway Line.

Note: This diagram shows tracks 1, 2, 3, and 4 running through the Erie Station to the south. Train 41 is headed south through the Erie interlocking on track 2, and train 46 is headed north through the Erie interlocking on track 3. The accident site and the two roadway workers who were hit are shown in the Erie interlocking between tracks 2 and 3.

Probable Cause

“The National Transportation Safety board determines the probable cause of this accident was Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority’s decision to use train approach warning for roadway worker protection while performing maintenance in anarea with multiple main tracks where trains could approach from either direction at full track speed.”

To read the full NTSB Accident Brief, please follow this link.

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