National Transportation Safety Board Concludes Train Investigation In Washington County

WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) — A fall foliage train excursion turned from fun to fear within moments, as a freight train collided with a passenger train during October 2014. Following an investigation that happened for more than two-and-a-half years, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced the cause of the collision that sent 43 people to nearby hospitals and clinics for treatment.

The incident happened as a result of the work train crew, an engineer and conductor, failing to stop in time and comply with restricted speed requirements. They traveled four miles per hour faster than the allowed max speed limit during the incident, according to a report issued from the NTSB.

During the morning of Oct. 16, 2014, 39 passengers and two conductors were heading from Springdale to Van Buren on board the Arkansas & Missouri (A&M) excursion train. The tour was interrupted about 10:25 a.m., when an A&M work train collided head-on with the excursion train, that was stopped near Brentwood, according to the report.

The excursion train had lost track adhesion due to slippery rail conditions because of leaves, and couldn’t move up the 1.1 percent grade. The work train was traveling about 24 miles per hour when the collision happened, the report states.

In addition to 43 people getting injured, about 40 gallons of diesel fuel spilled out of a generator fuel tank on one of the trains, but didn’t ignite.

Damage was estimated at $178,500, the report also states.