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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

NTSB issues preliminary report on CSX, SEPTA collision


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday released a preliminary report on a Dec. 9, 2021, collision between a CSX freight train and a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) trolley car at a grade crossing in Darby, Pennsylvania.

The trolley was stopped on a SEPTA eastbound trolley route and was close enough to the CSX mainline track to be struck by a westbound CSX freight train. Six people on the trolley, including the operator and train engineer, were transported to local medical facilities with non-life-threatening injuries, the report states.

The SEPTA trolley was traveling southeast on its way to the 13th and Market Street station. The trolley operator made a stop at Main Street and 6th Street to let passengers on and off. The trolley operator then proceeded into the Darby Diamond grade crossing when the crossing was activated by the approaching CSX train. The trolley stopped and the gates protecting the crossing closed on its roof. The CSX train struck the stopped trolley, pushing it back (west) but not derailing it.

NTSB investigators examined the grade crossing, conducted track and equipment inspections, reviewed signal and train control data logs, conducted interviews and obtained image and event recorder data from the lead locomotive of the CSX train and the SEPTA trolley.

The crossing was equipped with gates and lights maintained by CSX. Investigators found the gates and lights were functioning properly.

NTSB's investigation into the accident is continuing, with future investigative activity focusing on grade-crossing design, operations and human performance.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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