Human error blamed in fatal 2015 train crash near Roswell | KOB 4

Human error blamed in fatal 2015 train crash near Roswell

Robert Towne
April 10, 2018 06:18 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - It's been nearly three years since a deadly train crash near Roswell. An engineer was killed and a second crew member injured after their train slammed into another parked train.


At a Tuesday meeting in Washington, the National Transportation Safety Board determined human error caused the crash. The NTSB says a crew member of the parked train failed to reset a manual track switch before going off duty.

The crew of the moving train expected the switch to be in the right position, and federal investigators believe better warning systems could have given the crew more time to react.

The NTSB also recommends railroad companies to install recording devices in train cabs to monitor crew members. Federal investigators say the crew of the moving train tested positive for drugs including marijuana and opioids, but they say they had no way of knowing when the drugs were taken leading up to the crash.

One issue not addressed involved instructions for crew members in the event of the crash. In 2015, investigators said the engineer who died may have lived if he didn't jump off because the train's survival area was fully intact.

The NTSB is also asking railroad companies to install positive train control along main lines, a system that relies on GPS and wireless transmitters to keep multiple trains separated on the same track.

Congress mandated positive train control on major Class I railroads in 2008. However, based on maps from the BNSF railroad, the line in Roswell is not considered Class I.


Robert Towne

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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