Posts Tagged ‘Southwest Chief derailment’

Kansas Firm Admits Negligence in SW. Chief Wreck

November 29, 2018

A court trail over the 2016 derailment of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief in Kansas has been canceled after an agriculture company conceded that one of its truck was maintained negligently, causing it to runaway and damage the BNSF tracks used by the train.

Cimarron Crossing Feeders admitted one of its trucks caused the derailment because an employee was negligent in not setting its brakes.

The truck, which was unattended when it broke loose, rolled downhill and struck the rails. The incident occurred near Cimarron, Kansas.

In a previous ruling, a federal judge determined that there was no legal fault on the part of Amtrak or BNSF for the March 14, 2016, derailment.

The train was traveling 60 mph when it hit a kink in the track. The derailment resulted in injuries to 28 passengers and crew members.

Amtrak and BNSF said the derailment caused $1.4 in damage.

Kansas Investigation Report Singles Out Truck as Likely Cause of SW Chief Derailment

May 10, 2016

A Kansas newspaper recently reported that a truck driver failed to set the emergency brakes on a vehicle that then rolled downhill and knocked BNSF tracks out of alignment, which triggered the March 14 derailment of the Chicago-bound Southwest Chief.

The Wichita Eagle obtained the investigation records through a freedom of information request.

Amtrak Southwest Chief 2A Kansas State Highway Patrol investigator, Herb Bradley, found that a worker from Cimarron Crossing Feeders drove the truck to a feed mill and parked it on a downhill slope.

“I feel that the driver either failed to set the parking brake or did not completely apply the parking brake of the Kenworth (truck) before exiting the vehicle,” Bradley wrote.

The driver also left the truck’s transmission in neutral and it began rolling when he got out.

The truck broke through a fence, traveled across a pasture, through a second fence, down a ditch on U.S. 50, across the highway, and through another ditch before finally hitting the railroad tracks, displacing ties and rails in the process.

Bradley detailed his inspections of the truck in a written report that concluded that the truck’s brakes worked properly.

He observed the truck for four hours while parked on a downhill slope with the brakes activated and concluded that the truck did not roll downhill because of failed brakes.

In an inspection, Bradley did not find any mechanical problems that could have compromised the truck before, during or even after the accident.

The derailment of the Southwest Chief occurred several hours after the truck struck the track.

Twenty-eight of the 144 aboard were hurt and six of the train’s 10 cars derailed.

Tire marks at the scene of the derailment matched a 2004 Kenworth truck owned by Cimarron Crossing Feeders that was used to haul cattle feed. Investigators found cattle feed strewn along the tracks.

The derailment caused more than $1.4 million in damage.

Maynard Burl, feedlot manager for Cimarron Crossing Feeders, wrote in a voluntary witness statement that the driver of the truck said the parking brakes didn’t work.

In his statement, Burl said he got into the truck the day the truck rolled downhill and tested the parking brake twice to show the driver that they worked each time.

NTSB Eyes Damaged Track in Chief Derailment

April 8, 2016
Tire tracks leading to the out of alignment rails at the derailment site of the Southwest Chief.

Tire tracks leading to the out of alignment rails at the derailment site of the Southwest Chief.

Damaged track is the preliminary cause of a March 14 derailment of the Southwest Chief that injured about 30 passengers.

The National Transportation Safety Board said a truck struck the rails near Cimarron, Kansas.

NTSB investigators said railroad ties and tracks were out of their normal positions and established the point of derailment 25 feet beyond that location.

Video from the lead locomotive of the Los Angeles to Chicago train showed abnormal track immediately before the derailment, NTSB officials said in the report.

Investigators also found fresh damage to the north ends of the ties and fresh tire tracks perpendicular to the tracks. Also at the scene were small amount of flaked corn, a type of cattle feed.

The tire tracks led to a feed lot owned by Cimarron Crossing Feeders, where the tread on a 2004 Kenworth International truck matched the tire track impressions at the scene, NTSB officials said.

The truck in question is used to haul flaked corn to feed bins. The truck’s left and right mounting brackets on the front bumper were broken.

The tracks where the derailment occurred are owned by BNSF.

Train No. 4 was traveling at 60 mph — the maximum speed limited in that area — when the engineer applied the  emergency brakes
Amtrak and BNSF have estimated that the track and equipment sustained $1.4 million in damage.

The NTSB said its preliminary findings will be “supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation.”