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Coal train that killed teenager was "speeding"

  : Tuesday February 01, 2000
  An 80 car coal train which derailed on Sunday January 30 crashing into a house and killing a 15
photo : AP

Wheel slippage
It is not yet known if the train was under power or if the brakes had been applied. At the time of the derailment, there was a slight snowfall which may have made the tracks greasy. On the 17-mile, 2.4 per cent downhill grade, this could have caused wheel slippage. This in turn could undermine attempts by the crew to slow the train.
As well as weather conditions, the NTSB is also investigating train handling by the three-man crew and possible mechanical failure.

year old boy was travelling at more than twice the limit set for that section of the line.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board event recorders recovered from the train's tree locomotives show that it was travelling at about 55 mph. The section of track is on a downhill gradient where the maximum permitted speed is 25 mph.

Seventy-six of the train's cars, each laden with 120 tons of coal left the rails in the accident which occurred at 06:30. At least one struck the house in Bloomington, Maryland. The force of the impact pushed the house off its foundations.

Rescue workers, using dogs searched for twelve hours through spilled coal and debris piled 20 feet high. The body of the teenager was eventually found in the destroyed living room of the house. The boy's mother was seriously injured. Her eighteen year old daughter and a man and his daughter recieved less serious injuries.

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Earlier story
Teenager dies as CSX coal train demolishes house
Web sources:
Maryland Train Was Traveling At Twice Speed Limit Before Crash
Salt Lake Tribune 01/02/2000
Rescue workers sift through the wreckage at the site of a coal train derailment
Excite 30/01/2000



National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

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This file last updated: Saturday, 19-Feb-2000 21:19:15 EST
Copyright © David Fry 1999