Updated to include comment from Union Pacific
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is asking U.S. freight railroads to review their air brake and train handling instructions for end-of-train devices following a fatal October 2018 accident involving two Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) trains near Granite Canyon, Wyoming.
The NTSB is still trying to determine the cause of the Oct. 4, 2018, accident in which an eastbound UNP train collided with the rear of a stationary train.
The NTSB laid out the following guidelines for the Class I railroads: to review and issue guidance for the inspection of end-of-railcar air hose configurations to ensure those configurations match their intended design and to review and revise the air brake and train handling instructions for grade operations and two-way end-of-train devices.
The federal agency also directed the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Administration, also known as ASLRRA, to notify its members to follow these two NTSB recommendations.
The accident occurred when the moving train, which consisted of three leading locomotives and 105 railcars, had crested a hill and was going down the hill, which had a descending grade of up to 1.58% for about 13 miles, according to the NTSB. The crash caused the death of the striking train’s engineer and conductor. Prior to the accident, the train crew told a dispatch center that the crew was having problems with the train’s air brake system.
“Union Pacific is fully cooperating with the NTSB’s investigation related to the collision near Cheyenne, Wyoming,” UNP spokesperson Raquel Espinoza said. “We are also working to put measures in place to improve air brake system performance on our trains.”