The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ruled last month on the probable cause of a fatal accident in June 2017 that killed both a CSX conductor and a conductor trainee.
The men were struck from behind at 11:18 p.m. June 27, 2017, by an Amtrak train while walking to the cab of their train in Ivy City, a neighborhood in Washington, D.C.
The men had just completed a railcar inspection.
The NTSB report, released April 9, stated that there had been no rail traffic for about an hour on the active tracks upon which the men were walking as they returned.
As they walked, a pair of Amtrak trains, one northbound and one southbound, approached the men, the report stated.
NTSB said the northbound Amtrak train approached the men from the front on tracks to the left of those upon which they were walking, and that both trains sounded their horns and bells at virtually the same time in attempts to alert them.
“Given the simultaneous and similar horn and bell sounds from the two trains, the conductors may not have discerned two sources of the sounds and, consequently, concluded that the sounds originated from only one train — the one that they had detected ahead of them.
“As a result, it appears the conductors were unaware that a second train was approaching them from behind,” the report stated.
NTSB issued a new safety recommendation to the two carriers involved in the accident at the conclusion of its report:
“Prohibit employees from fouling adjacent tracks of another railroad unless the employees are provided protection from trains and/or equipment on the adjacent tracks by means of communication between the two railroads.”