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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

NTSB files preliminary report for SEPTA train crash

The SEPTA accident involved two trains on the Norristown Line. One train was stopped and unoccupied.
Photo – NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has written a preliminary report on the Aug. 22 collision between two Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) trains.

The incident occurred when a SEPTA electrically powered single-car train struck an unoccupied SEPTA single-car train that was stopped at a passenger platform at the 69th Street Transportation Center on the Norristown Line in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

Forty-two passengers were injured and taken to local hospitals, though none had life-threatening injuries, according to the report.

The Norristown Line is a two-track, 13-mile, 600-volt direct-current electrically powered rail line. The line is used for regular train service seven days a week between Norristown and Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

The incident occurred during light rain in the area. At a stop several away from the 69th Street Transportation Center, the operator of the electric train was unable to stop and slid past the passenger platform. He reported the missed station and notified SEPTA's operations control center of slippery rail.

The controller directed the train to return to the missed station, then proceed to 69th Street.

"About 0.4 miles from the 69th Street Transportation Center, the train operator began receiving a series of reduce speed cab codes from the ATC system," the report stated. "The signal was stop at 6S, the last track-side signal before the 69th Street Transportation Center. The last track switch was lined for the track 1 passenger platform, where [the] unoccupied train was stopped."

The operator tried to stop his train, but it went through the signal and continued into the station, and collided with the unoccupied train.

NTSB officials are continuing to investigate the accident's probable cause. Parties to the investigation are the Federal Transit Administration, SEPTA, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Transport Workers Union.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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