NTSB to Determine Cause of Roswell, New Mexico Rail Accident

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

#1
2/8/2018

​WASHINGTON (Feb. 8, 2018) — The National Transportation Safety Board will meet to determine the probable cause of an accident involving two freight trains in Roswell, New Mexico in 2015; the board will also issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing similar accidents in the future.

This looks like another misaligned track switch train collision.

When: March 13, 2018

Webcast: A link to the webcast will be available shortly before the start of the meeting at

http://ntsb.capitolconnection.org/

Source Link:

https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/NR20180208.aspx

​Preliminary Report DCA15MR008

On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, at about 06:23 a.m. mountain daylight time, westbound Southwestern Railroad (SWRR) freight train MCLOCRL 127A with 9 locomotives and 79 cars collided with standing SWRR train LSWC-002127I, the Roswell local, on the Carlsbad Division near Dexter, New Mexico. Train MCLOCRL 127A struck the Roswell Local after traveling through a misaligned switch at the east end of Chisum siding, where the Roswell local had previously worked.

https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/DCA15MR008_Preliminary.aspx

 
#2
I once talked to an engineer who told me about a problem with misaligned switches after the BN merger back in the early 70's. To align a switch for the "straight" position, one pre-merger railroad's switches were thrown "up" while another pre-merger railroad's switches were thrown "down." This could cause a conductor or brakeman to mis-align a switch if he was working on a train that was operating on pre-merger trackage that used a switch pattern opposite of what he was used to.
 
#3
NTSB to Reschedule Meeting on Fatal New Mexico Rail Wreck. The meeting was canceled as a result of the recent sightseeing helicopter crash in New York City's East River.


NTSB Boardroom and Conference Center
4/10/2018 9:30 AM

Due to the 3/12/2018 launch to the helicopter accident in New York City, this meeting has been rescheduled from its original date of 3/13/2018.

The National Transportation Safety Board will meet to determine the probable cause of an accident involving two freight trains in Roswell, New Mexico in 2015; the board will also issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing similar accidents in the future.

Previously released information about the accident is available at: https://go.usa.gov/xn783.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

BNSFEng

Locomotive Engineer!!!
#4
I once talked to an engineer who told me about a problem with misaligned switches after the BN merger back in the early 70's. To align a switch for the "straight" position, one pre-merger railroad's switches were thrown "up" while another pre-merger railroad's switches were thrown "down." This could cause a conductor or brakeman to mis-align a switch if he was working on a train that was operating on pre-merger trackage that used a switch pattern opposite of what he was used to.
It comes down to what are the reporting rules of the railroad to the dispatcher after clearing the mainline. It’s not rocket science for a brakeman to line back a switch after you clear and report to the conductor the switch is lined back for mainline movement which needs to be reported to the dispatcher before she or he will issue a track warrent to allow another train past that siding.
 

Bob

Forum Host
Staff member
#5
It comes down to what are the reporting rules of the railroad to the dispatcher after clearing the mainline. It’s not rocket science for a brakeman to line back a switch after you clear and report to the conductor the switch is lined back for mainline movement which needs to be reported to the dispatcher before she or he will issue a track warrent to allow another train past that siding.
No, it's not rocket science. The problem is that it's something very repetitive, and thus easy to forget. You recall doing it, since you've done it 100 times before, just not today. Unfortunately, 10,000 times of getting it right won't make any difference on the one time you get it wrong and a train is coming at speed.

That's why there's so much pressure to get PTC up and running. I'm sure it will be fallible too, but hopefully less error than humans. Computers are very good at redundant repetitive tasks, humans are not.
 

Boris

New Member
#7
No, it's not rocket science. The problem is that it's something very repetitive, and thus easy to forget. You recall doing it, since you've done it 100 times before, just not today. Unfortunately, 10,000 times of getting it right won't make any difference on the one time you get it wrong and a train is coming at speed.

That's why there's so much pressure to get PTC up and running. I'm sure it will be fallible too, but hopefully less error than humans. Computers are very good at redundant repetitive tasks, humans are not.
Failure to properly align switches, is simply carelessness. Failure to properly align switches then report clear, is negligence. PTC really doesn't provide for these types of error. PTC, is designed for dispatcher controlled, signaled, main line railroad, and when everything is working, will be a life saving tool.

When operating in "Dark" or unsignaled territory, whether running under track warrants or yard rules, proper alignment of switches is more crucial. PTC has no effect, so it won't help.

Fatigue, is an other issue. it's a real issue that should have been resolved by now, but keeps rearing it's ugly head.

Boris
 



RailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com