NTSB preliminary report: Trains given permission to be on same track prior to collision

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
passenger train
The Sacramento Regional Transit train was traveling at 32 mph when it hit a maintenance train, sending 13 to area hospitals.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on an accident involving a two-car Sacramento Regional Transit passenger train and a one-car RT maintenance train on Aug. 22. The passenger train was carrying 24 people while the maintenance train was holding three. No one had life-threatening injuries but 13 were transported to area hospitals.

According to the NTSB, the Sacramento Regional Transit passenger train was going 32 mph at the point of impact. The maintenance train was stopped. A technician on the maintenance train received permission from the controller at the Metro Control Center to enter the mainline and complete post-maintenance intervention propulsion testing. The train proceeded northbound on the outbound track. According to the NTSB report, the technician “made several throttle manipulations, reaching speeds of 50 mph before bringing the train to a stop.” The technician then began working southbound on the outbound track. The passenger train, which was running 15 minutes behind schedule, was moving northbound on the outbound track toward the maintenance train.

“At the time of the accident, extra train movements were verbally authorized to occupy the main track,” the NTSB report says. “Regularly scheduled train movements were governed by signal indication.”

The NTSB report goes on to say the area was under Sacramento Regional Transit District control.

The investigation is still ongoing, and NTSB will now focus on rail operations of the Sacramento Regional Transit District, signal system operations, the performance of Sacramento Regional Transit District employees and management oversight of the property, both internal and external.

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Categories: Commuter/Regional, Intercity, Passenger, Rail News, Railroad News, Track Maintenance
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