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Derailment of Union Pacific (UP) Freight Train ZLAMN-16 - RAB0502

Derailment of Union Pacific (UP) Freight Train ZLAMN-16 - RAB0502

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Published by: sougatapahari on Jul 12, 2011
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National Transportation Safety Board
Washington, D.C. 20594
Railroad Accident Brief 
 
Accident No.: DCA-05-FR-002Location: Pico Rivera, CaliforniaDate: October 16, 2004Time: 9:40 a.m.
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 Railroad: Union Pacific RailroadProperty Damage: $2.7 millionInjuries: NoneFatalities: NoneType of Accident: Derailment
Synopsis
About 9:40 a.m., on October 16, 2004, eastbound Union Pacific Railroad (UP)freight train ZLAMN-16 derailed 3 locomotives and 11 cars near Pico Rivera, California.Some of the derailed cars struck nearby residences. Small amounts of hazardousmaterials were released from transported cargo.
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An estimated 5,000 gallons of dieselfuel were released from the locomotive fuel tanks when they ruptured during thederailment. About 100 people were evacuated from the area. There were no injuries toarea residents, the train crew, or emergency response personnel. At the time of thederailment, the sky was overcast. The wind was from the south at approximately 6 mph.The temperature was 66
°
F. The UP estimated the monetary damage at $2.7 million.
The Accident
At 6:45 a.m., on October 16, 2004, a two-person crew consisting of a locomotiveengineer and conductor went on duty at UP’s East Los Angeles terminal to take freighttrain ZLAMN-16 to Yuma, Arizona. Both crewmembers were rested in accordance withFederal requirements. The train consisted of 4 locomotives and 38 loaded cars. It had atrailing weight of 4,203 tons and was 5,822 feet long. After reporting for duty, the traincrew stated that they collected their work orders and then held a job briefing. UPmechanical department employees performed a successful air brake test on the train. Noanomalies or defects were reported during the inspection and testing.
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All times in this brief are Pacific daylight time.
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The cargo was resin, 18 kilograms; sulfuric acid, 6 liters; and butane lighters, 1 kilogram. NTSB/RAB-05/0
2
 
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About 9:15 a.m., ZLAMN-16 departed eastbound from Los Angeles enroute toYuma, Arizona, with a final destination of Marion, Tennessee. The engineer said that hehad no difficulties with either the brakes or slack action and the train handled as expectedfor a train of that size. As the train approached Bartolo Junction on the single main track,a
clear 
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signal indication was displayed. The train was traveling 57 mph when, the crewsaid, the lead locomotive rocked a little from a dip on the engineer’s side. As the crewwas talking about this event, the train air brakes went into emergency application and thelead locomotive came to a rough stop. The engineer immediately contacted the dispatcher while the conductor checked on the condition of the train. The engineer relayedinformation to the dispatcher from the conductor that 3 locomotives and the first 11 carshad derailed and that local residential structures appeared to be involved. The secondlocomotive was the easternmost piece of equipment to derail. Emergency response personnel arrived within minutes.The derailment occurred on the UP Los Angeles Division, Los AngelesSubdivision. The UP designated the track as Class 5,
4
authorizing maximum speeds of 70mph for passenger trains and 65 mph for freight trains. The UP timetable established traindirections for this subdivision as east and west. The train involved in the accident wasmoving northeasterly. A residential area was adjacent to the tracks on the northwesternedge of the derailment. An embankment for the 605 Freeway curved in front of theaccident site and bordered the eastern edge.In the area of the derailment, the main track was constructed of 133-poundcontinuous welded rail (CWR). The rail was laid on 8 1/2- by 16-inch double shoulder tie plates. Four cut track spikes in each tie plate affixed the rail to treated timber crossties.There were 24 crossties for each 39 feet of rail. Longitudinal rail movement wascontrolled through base-applied rail anchors. Each tie was box anchored in the area of theinitial point of derailment (POD). The anchors contacted the respective crosstie at eachlocation. The track structure was supported by crushed granite ballast that was generally12 inches deep and between 1 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. The cribs were full and clean.Ballast extended beyond the ends of the ties. There was no vegetation in the ballastsection or along the immediate right-of-way. It had been raining in the area before thederailment and during the on-scene phase of the investigation; however, there was nostanding water near the POD.The initial POD was at an insulated joint on the south rail at milepost (MP) 11.34.The joint was composed of two 133-pound rails and a pair of 6-hole joint bars withassociated hardware and bonding material. Both joint bars were broken and the end faces
3
A
clear 
signal indicates that a train may proceed at track speed unless otherwise restricted. Trainsreceiving a
clear 
signal will not be diverging at the next signal location and will not have a signal morerestrictive than approach at the next signal.
4
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has established minimum inspection and maintenancestandards according to various classes of track. Maximum track speeds and other requirements are based onthe designated class. NTSB/RAB-05/0
2
 
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of both rails exhibited visible evidence of having been deformed by impact.
5
The railends, attached broken bars, and the supporting tie plates were sent to the NationalTransportation Safety Board’s Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C. Starting on November 4, 2004, the track components from the accident were examined in the SafetyBoard’s laboratory; representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) andthe UP were present.The Materials Laboratory report
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on the examination of the joint pieces is in theSafety Board’s public docket. The evidence indicates that there were slowly growingfatigue cracks in both joint bars and that at least part of each fatigue crack had beenvisible on the lower outer portion of the bar for some time before failure. (See figures 1and 2.)
South Bar
 
Figure 1.
West rail portion showing the fractured ends of the joint bars, a fracturebetween the first two bolt holes of the south joint bar, and rail batter.
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“Batter” is generally used by the rail industry to describe this type of damage: a particular type of deformation that happens when wheels pass over the end face of a rail in an area where the rails areseparated by a greater distance than is normal.
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National Transportation Safety Board’s Materials Laboratory Factual Report No. 05-017 datedMarch 4, 2005. NTSB/RAB-05/0
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