Safety board notes train's speed in fatal derailment

March 06, 2002|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,SUN STAFF

A CSX train that derailed, ran into a home and killed a teen-ager in a small Western Maryland town two years ago was traveling down a grade at unsafe speeds, federal safety officials said yesterday.

In addition, the engineer, who had recently returned to his job after four years in the freight yard, was not adequately trained in how to run the route, they said.

The findings involving the accident Jan. 30, 2000, in Bloomington were released yesterday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Investigators said the train's "dynamic" brakes failed that day. Had the train been traveling 15 mph, the air brakes would have been sufficient to stop it. However, CSX had set a limit of 25 mph, a speed that depended on the dynamic brakes.

Under regulations that will take effect in 2004, railroads must calculate speed limits based solely on the air brake system's ability to stop a train. CSX already put in place the board's speed-limit recommendations, said a spokesman.

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