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NTSB investigates death of BNSF conductor in Missouri

National Transportation Safety Board also probing death of another BNSF employee in March

NTSB investigators are looking into the events that led to a fatal accident involving a BNSF employee. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are looking into what caused the death Wednesday of a BNSF (NYSE: BRK) employee at a customer facility in Louisiana, a city in northeast Missouri.

Conductor Buddy Strieker had worked at BNSF for more than 24 years before the incident.

“The BNSF Railway family is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague, Buddy Strieker. … We extend our condolences to the Strieker family, and we will continue to keep them, his loved ones and his co-workers in our thoughts and prayers,” BNSF said.

BNSF said it would cooperate with the NTSB in its investigation. No cause was given.

Earlier this month, NTSB also issued a preliminary report on its investigation of the March 3 death of a BNSF conductor at a rail yard in La Mirada, California.

The report, which doesn’t yet provide a cause, described the conditions leading up to the incident. According to the report, the conductor was riding a boxcar’s ladder and communicating position and distance information as the 48-car train moved through the yard at about 8 mph. The boxcar on which the conductor was riding collided with the side of a stationary locomotive, pinning and killing the conductor, the report said. Another conductor riding on a ladder on the opposite side of the same boxcar was uninjured.

NTSB sent two investigators to the scene. The investigation will look into the safety rules related to switching operations, temporary close clearances in rail yards, and the effects of fatigue and medical issues on railroad operating crews, NTSB said.

In addition to NTSB and BNSF, other parties involved in this March investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration, the California Public Utilities Commission, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive engineers and Trainmen.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.