Goodwell, OK Two Train Collision, Jun 2012
NTSB INVESTIGATING OKLAHOMA TRAIN CRASH.
Oklahoma City (AP) - Federal investigators want to know why a freight train streaking across the Oklahoma Panhandle failed to pull into a side track and instead charged down the main line and collided head-on with another train approaching from the opposite direction.
Three Union Pacific Railroad employees perished in the crash.
DON HALL, engineer.
JOHN HALL, engineer.
BRIAN L. STONE, 50, conductor.
The two HALL engineers were not related.
The NTSB said there was "no survivable space" in the locomotives' cabins following the Sunday morning collision.
An early review found no problems with the signal system along the tracks near Goodwell, 300 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, NTSB member Mark Rosekind said Monday night. The track, too, appeared normal. The NTSB will check phone records to ensure that workers were not distracted from their duties by cellphones, and the agency also hoped to analyze data recorders similar to those found aboard airplanes, he said.
The Union Pacific trains collided just east of Goodwell, triggering a diesel-fueled fireball that appeared to weld the locomotives together. Two engineers and a conductor perished. Rosekind referred questions to state medical officials but said there was "no survivable space" in the workers' compartments. One conductor jumped from his train and suffered only minor injuries. The NTSB plans to interview him.
The investigator said one of the trains was supposed to have been on a nearby side track as the other passed. There are sidings at Goodwell, one mile west of the accident site, and at Guymon, eight miles east, but it was unclear which train had the obligation to yield.
"One train had the right of way," Rosekind said. "We're still getting the data to figure out what was scheduled to happen. There was a side track, and we're trying to figure out who was supposed to be where and when."
The eastbound train, hauling mixed goods from Los Angeles to Chicago, had three lead locomotives and one following. The westbound, taking cars and trucks from Kansas City to Los Angeles, was pulled by two locomotives and pushed by one. Video had been recovered from the rear locomotives, and the remnants of what is believed to be one of the so-called black box data recorders has been pulled from one train.