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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

NTSB reports probable cause of 2021 CSX, SEPTA collision

The accident occurred in December 2021.
Photo – ntsb.gov


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the probable cause of a CSX train collision with a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) trolley in 2021 was the trolley operator, using the emergency brake, stopping the trolley within the foul of the CSX track.

On Dec. 9, 2021, the CSX train struck the SEPTA trolley at the Darby Diamond grade crossing near Main and Sixth streets in in Darby, Pennsylvania. The trolley was stopped on the eastbound track of its route and fouling the CSX mainline track when it was struck by a westbound CSX train. After the collision five trolley passengers, the trolley operator and the CSX train engineer were transported to local medical facilities with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the NTSB report.

As a result of the accident, SEPTA partnered with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, CSX, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and Darby Borough to secure $1 million in funding to improve safety at the Darby Diamond crossing.

A training campaign was conducted to remind trolley operators about the protocols for making a safety stop at the location and what to do if emergency braking is applied.

According to the NTSB report, SEPTA also has been working with Darby Borough, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to explore the possibility of doing a full grade separation or rerouting of the trolley line to remove the crossing.