Today is the one-year anniversary of the railroad accident in Red Oak, Iowa, where an eastbound BNSF coal train struck the rear of a stationary BNSF maintenance-of-way equipment train. The coal train, which was traveling about 23 mph when it struck the standing train, had passed a red signal about 2 miles before the collision point. The signal required the engineer to operate the train at restricted speed, which meant stopping within ½ the range of vision. Sadly, both the engineer and the conductor on the coal train were killed.
Our investigators have worked hard over the past year to identify the cause of this collision as well as to identify ways to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future. At next week’s Board meeting, our investigators will discuss their findings and make presentations about crew fatigue, positive train control, crashworthiness, and data recorders. You can attend the April 24, 2011, meeting in person or watch it on webcast on the NTSB website.
At the NTSB, we study accidents so we can make a difference in the future. We look forward to working across the railroading community to improve rail safety.