The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a preliminary report for its ongoing investigation of the Sept. 17, 2023, accident involving a CSX carman, who was struck and killed by a pair of CSX-owned remote-control locomotives at the Walbridge (Ohio) Yard. The agency said future investigative activity will focus on carmen safety procedure training and awareness at the Class I.
At about 3:24 a.m. local time on Sept. 17, a member of the CSX Mechanical Department crew was struck and killed while walking from a parked truck across multiple tracks to line and lock a switch to prepare for railcar inspections, according to the NTSB, which noted in its Sept. 29 report that all information is preliminary and subject to change. As the carman began crossing the lead track to access the switch, he was struck by the locomotives, which were traveling south at about 10 mph. Visibility conditions at the time of the accident were dark and clear, but the area was illuminated with overhead lighting, the agency said; the temperature was 63°F and there was no precipitation.
A single remote-control operator was using the pair of locomotives involved in the accident to perform switching work. At the time of the accident, the operator was positioned on the lower ladder on the west side of the trailing locomotive, NTSB reported.
The CSX Mechanical Department crew involved in the accident comprised two carmen, who started their shift at 11:00 p.m., Sept. 16, 2023. Shortly before the accident, they parked a truck east of the lead track and several yard tracks. The yard surveillance-camera video reviewed by NTSB investigators showed the accident carman exit the driver’s side door of the truck and walk west toward the switch on yard track 5, placing him on the lead track and in the path of the locomotives, according to the agency. The second carman, who was unaware that an accident had occurred, exited the truck’s passenger door and crossed the lead track to place a blue signal on yard track 5, NTSB reported, and as that carman returned to the truck, he saw the accident carman lying near the lead track and he radioed to stop all train movement in the yard and to request help.
While on the scene, NTSB said its investigators reviewed data from forward-facing locomotive image recorders—including the remote control locomotives and a passing train—and from a yard surveillance camera. They also observed remote-control train operations, completed interviews, inspected the locomotives involved in the accident, and conducted sight-distance observations.
CSX, as a result of the accident, issued a safety alert to all employees “emphasizing safety briefings, situational awareness, and knowledge of emergency action plans,” NTSB reported.
Parties to this ongoing NTSB investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration, CSX, and the Transportation Communications Union/International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.