Frac Sand Train Accident Caused by Impairment

A CSX Transportation engineer whose train ran through a stop signal and sideswiped a frac sand train near Carey, Ohio, last year had a blood alcohol level five times the legal limit, and also had traces of marijuana in his system at the time of the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

The probable cause of the Aug. 12 collision, the board found, was the engineer’s alcohol impairment. A contributing factor: The design of the positive train control system, which does not prevent collisions when it is set in the restricted mode that permits switching moves.

Westbound local train H702, which rammed into eastbound 110-car frac sand train W314 at a control point, was operating with its PTC system in restricted mode at the time of the 5:08 a.m. collision in Carey, which is between Columbus and Fostoria.

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