Introduction To The Railroad Accident Reporting And Record-Keeping System
There may be some overlap in these categories: for example, a freight train hitting a cattle truck at a marked crossing might cause damage to both the truck and the train, hence the incident will be entered into both the accident and highway/rail crossing incident databases. But some accidents/incidents will appear on only one database: for example, if in the hypothetical truck/train accident only the truck were damaged, the incident would not be entered into the accident database, since no damage to railroad equipment or track occurred.
On the following pages, major accidents are described, then bar graphs and tables are presented depicting various breakdowns of accident statistics, including a summary table, the year of the accident, reported cause of the accident, type of accident, the speed at which the accident occurred, the type of track upon which the accident occurred, the type of railroad equipment involved in the accident, the number of cars and locomotives derailed, whether any hazardous materials were involved and whether there were any releases. A derailment that took place at Carlin in May 2005, is described in the major accident section, but it is not included in any of the tables or charts, since a report on the accident had not yet been entered into the FRA database.
Major Rail Accidents in Eureka County and Vicinity, 1975 -2005
Described below are the major accidents that took place during the 30-year period. For the purposes of this report, major accidents are defined as accidents with more than $500,000 damage or a fatality.
June 9, 1980, near Barth
In this accident in Eureka County near Barth, irregular (buckled or sunken ) tracks caused the derailment of a 3-locomotive, 115-car freight train. Twenty-six cars were derailed. Total damage to equipment was $841,600; to the track, $63,850. There were no fatalities, injuries or hazardous releases.
July 1983, Palisade Canyon
In this accident, a four-wheel-drive vehicle on the tracks in Palisade Canyon was struck by a freight train. Of the four passengers in the vehicle, three were injured, and a Carlin man, 26-year-old Donald Burke, was killed. (Elko Daily Free Press.) There was no reported damage to the freight train. This accident was not reported on the FRA accident database, since there was no damage to tracks or equipment. It was not a part of the highway/rail crossing incident database, since the incident did not take place at a crossing. It was reported in the casualty database.
May 28, 1984, Humboldt River near Dunphy
In this Eureka County accident, high water had eroded away part of an embankment, weakening the support structure of a bridge over the Humboldt River, and softening the trackbed west of the bridge. The bridge collapsed, causing the derailment of a 4-locomotive, 77-car freight train. A total of thirty cars and two locomotives were derailed. Total damage to the tracks and equipment was $1,298,000. There were no fatalities, injuries or hazardous releases.
January 8, 1992, near Mosel
In this accident near Mosel in Lander County, brakes apparently were set on a wheel of one of the locomotives on a 2-locomotive, 106-car freight train. This caused a flat spot to develop on the wheel, which rolled when it hit the west switch at Mosel, breaking the rail. Twenty-one cars were then derailed. Total damage to equipment and tracks was $818,237. Twenty-four cars on the train were carrying hazardous materials; none of these cars were damaged or derailed. There were no fatalities or injuries.
April 15, 1996 near Carlin
In this accident in Elko County near Carlin, 30 cars of a freight train carrying coal derailed. No cause was determined for the accident. Total damage to equipment was $653,104; to the track, $40,000. There were no fatalities, injuries or hazardous releases.
June 25, 2001, Battle Mountain
In this accident, which took place at 12:45 a.m. on June 25, 2001, near Battle Mountain, a broken rail caused the derailment of a 5-locomotive, 111-car freight train. Forty-three cars derailed, including a tank car carrying toluene, a petrochemical and organic solvent. This tank car ruptured and approximately 1,541 gallons of the flammable liquid were spilled. Total damage to tracks and equipment was $1,749,338. There were no fatalities or injuries.
May 18, 2005, Carlin
At the time of this report, this accident had not yet been entered into the FRA accident database. Eureka County's Yucca Mountain Information Office Program Coordinator was able, however, to visit the scene of the accident, take photographs, and talk with railroad personnel at the scene. The description below comes from her observations (Marshall, pers com).
A total of 69 reportable railroad accidents occurred in the Eureka County study area between January 1975 and February 2005. This includes a collision between a freight train and a trespassing vehicle, resulting in a casualty but no track or equipment damage.