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Head-On Collision of 2 UP Trains at Goodwell Oklahoma

July 28, 2012

On June 24, 2012, about 10:01 a.m. CDT, eastbound UP intermodal  ZLAAH-22 and westbound UP auto train AAMMLX-22 collided head-on UP’s Pratt Subdivision near Goodwell, Oklahoma.

As a result of the collision, both crewmen on the eastbound train and the engineer on the westbound train were fatally injured. The conductor on the westbound train jumped from the locomotive prior to the collision and survived, with no major injuries. Speculation is the eastbound crew had fallen asleep.

The ZLAAH-22 consist was UP 8542 /  UP 5482  / UP 7914 / UP 7735 DPU; 108/0/7915/6328. The 3 lead units and first 24 well cars derailed.

The AAMMLX-22 consist was UP 8692  / UP 4855  / UP 7215 DPU;  80/0/7743/5760.  The 2 lead units and first six cars, loaded auto racks, derailed.

The maximum authorized speed for freight trains in the area of the accident is 70 mph. Event recorders from the lead locomotives of both trains were severely damaged during the collision and the data could not be retrieved. Event recorder data from the rear locomotives of both trains, as well as recorded data from the signal system, is being examined to determine train speeds and signal aspects prior to the collision. Initial data review from the rear locomotives indicates that the eastbound train was traveling about 64 mph and the westbound train was traveling about 38 mph at the time of the collision.

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The westbound was lined into the east end of Goodwell siding, while the eastbound was to hold the main. The eastbound ran through the red signal, and switch, at Goodwell. Impact was about one mile east of the east switch.

Here’s an NTSB investigator measuring the switch point gap created where the eastbound ran through the east switch at Goodwell.

(Click to view high resolution image)

Here’s another view showing NTSB inspectors at the collision site.

(Click to view high resolution image)

The final NTSB report with likely causes of the accident, and NTSB recommendations, is expected next summer.

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