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NTSB issues preliminary report on Pan Am Railways accident that killed conductor in Newington, N.H.

(Source: National Transportation Safety Board press release, June 9, 2021)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On May 19, 2021, at 2:15 p.m. local time, a Pan Am Railways conductor of train Pan Am Local D01, was fatally injured while dropping off and picking up railcars in the SubCom industrial track in Newington, New Hampshire.[1] The train consisted of two locomotives and two loaded railcars. The train crew consisted of one engineer with 34 years of experience and one conductor with 42 years of experience. The train crew was tasked with picking up three empty railcars and setting out two loaded railcars.

The SubCom industrial track is approximately 200 feet long with an east to west descending grade. Immediately before the accident, the train crew moved the two loaded railcars east into the industrial track and successfully coupled them to the first railcar in the track.[2]

Preliminary information indicates that two of the three railcars to be picked up were not properly coupling together after five previous attempts to couple them. The conductor was pinched between the two coupling mechanisms during the sixth attempt to couple the railcars. (See figure 1 at link above.) The conductor was transported to the hospital by ambulance where he died from his injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigative team examined the accident location, collected and gathered preliminary information, conducted interviews, inspected equipment, and completed an accident reenactment while on-scene.

The NTSB’s investigation into this accident is ongoing. Future investigative activity will focus on causal factors and railroad worker safety in industrial facilities.

Parties to the investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration, Pan Am Railways, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers.

1. (a) All times in this document are local time unless otherwise noted. (b) SubCom is a global undersea data transport company that manufactures undersea fiber optic cable at a manufacturing facility in Newington, New Hampshire.
2. Coupler is a device located at both ends of all railcars in a standard location to provide a means for connecting (coupling) one railcar to another.

Full story: www.ntsb.gov

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

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