NTSB issues report on Metra derailment in 2003

Posted on November 23, 2005

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has adopted a final report on its investigation into the derailment of a commuter train in Chicago in 2003, saying that the train's engineer failed to observe and comply with signal indications. The board again called on the Federal Railroad Administration to require positive train control systems that would prevent this type of accident in the future. On Oct. 12, 2003, the Metra train, traveling from Joliet, Ill., to Chicago, derailed its two locomotives and five passenger cars as it traversed a crossover on the Rock Island Line in Chicago. The train derailed at a recorded speed of 68 mph, where the maximum authorized speed was 10 mph. Three of the 378 persons aboard the train were admitted to a hospital for observation. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the engineer's loss of situational awareness minutes before the derailment because of his preoccupation with certain aspects of train operations that led to his failure to observe and comply with signal indications.

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