The Latest on a hearing into the cause of a 2014 train collision in northern Arkansas that killed two Union Pacific employees (all times local):
The National Transportation Safety Board is blaming crew fatigue for a 2014 train crash that killed two Union Pacific workers in Arkansas. They also cited an automatic horn that improperly reset alarms and the railroad industry’s slow adoption of a system to stop trains automatically.
Investigators told the board Tuesday that the train’s conductor had been working an irregular schedule while the engineer suffered from moderate sleep apnea. The railroad requires only that severe cases be disclosed.
The NTSB says an automatic horn incorrectly reset alarms designed to ensure crew members remained alert.
The board’s vice chairman voted against the findings, saying the panel should have given more weight to the lack of GPS-based technology to monitor and control train movement.
The railroad did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.
The head of the National Transportation Safety Board says flaws in automated equipment and an engineer’s undisclosed sleep apnea likely contributed to a fatal train crash in Arkansas.
The panel met Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to discuss the 2014 crash that killed two Union Pacific employees near Hoxie, Arkansas.
Chairman Christopher Hart says automatic horns interfered with a device designed to keep the crew alert. Because of the error, the crew missed at least three opportunities to stop the train.
Hart also says the engineer, who died in the crash, suffered from mild sleep apnea that didn’t have to be reported to regulators or the railroad. He says the conductor may have suffered from fatigue after working an irregular schedule.
Union Pacific declined comment ahead of the hearing.
Automated equipment may have contributed to a deadly head-on train collision in Arkansas by resetting alarms set up to ensure the crew is alert.
The National Transportation Safety Board meets Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to discuss a 2014 crash that killed two Union Pacific employees near Hoxie, Arkansas. The crash has prompted warnings about automated horns on trains with “electronic alertness devices.”
The NTSB told railroads last year that if a southbound train’s automated horns had been wired differently, its crew would have been warned at least three times to stop or slow down before the crash. With the warning system being reset, the train generated no signal to apply its own brakes automatically.
Beginning Jan. 1, trains operating at speeds above 25 mph must have an electronic alertness device.