2/4/76 - PETTISVILLE, OHIO

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2/4/76 - PETTISVILLE, OHIO

Postby shlustig » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:43 am

On the Toledo Division between Toledo and Elkhart. Double-track TCS territory and tangent track for 67 miles from NASBY (west end of Air Line Jct. to Butler, IN)

Train NY-12 (3 units & 73 cars) Dp. ELK @ 9:15 PM while Train BM-7 (4 units & 113 cars) Dp. TOL @ 10:30PM. Both trains approached the accident site on Tk. 2, and the Dispatcher had lined CP-327 to have BM-7 cross to Tk. 1. BM-7's Engr. called on the radio for the eastbound @ Archbold to stop as it appeared to have passed CP-327, but there was no response.

NY-12 had not varied speed, braking, horn or headlight since passing Bryan (16 miles west). Collision speed was about 35mph for each train. All 7 units and 28 cars were derailed, the fuel tanks ruptured and fuel ignited; both head-end crews were killed, and damages were estimated at about $1,400,000.

Ironically, the NTSB Report noted that the accident may have been prevented had there been a train-stop system, something which the FRA had allowed the PC to abandon c. 1970.
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Re: 2/4/76 - PETTISVILLE, OHIO

Postby Allen Hazen » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:56 pm

Re: "NY-12 had not varied speed, braking, horn or headlight since passing Bryan (16 miles west)." Or, at 35mph, for roughly half an hour. Does this suggest that the head-end crew of NY-12 was asleep in the cab?
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Re: 2/4/76 - PETTISVILLE, OHIO

Postby NYCRRson » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:41 pm

Sure sounds like the head end fell asleep. But on tangent track the rear end crew might have been able to see the "stop" signal ahead ? It was dark out (9pm in February) and there were only 73 cars.

And presumably the rear end crew would have heard the radio call from the other train (BM-7) ?

My understanding (according to the crews I spoke with) the PC went out on a weekend and ripped out all the train stop equipment (a couple of work trains torching all the brackets and cables and throwing everything into gondola's). The PC was already bankrupt and the bankruptcy trustees had no money to put the equipment back in place.

So it was a fait accompli and there was not much the FRA could do about it; order a flat broke railroad to stop operating and let the debts climb even faster ?

But, that is just what I heard from folks on the ground back then. Apparently the MOW folks were in such a hurry they did not even cut the bolts off flush and there were tripping hazards galore were the inductors used to be.
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Re: 2/4/76 - PETTISVILLE, OHIO

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:06 pm

NYCRRson wrote:But on tangent track the rear end crew might have been able to see the "stop" signal ahead ? It was dark out (9pm in February) and there were only 73 cars.

Even if the signal had been Clear it would have dropped to Stop by the time the rear-end crew (about 3/4-mile away) could see it--and would it have been visible from the bay window?--and would thus have appeared entirely normal.
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Re: 2/4/76 - PETTISVILLE, OHIO

Postby NYCRRson » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:07 pm

I got the impression that the train went by a stop signal. The other train that was supposed to divert at the control point thought the train went past the signal and was moving. The train that had a clear signal called the other train on the radio.

But you are correct by 76 the caboose would have been a bay window job. But they should have had a radio by then.
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