Skip to Main Content
Railroad News

Massive BNSF Train Collision Injures Four Employees, Disrupts Amarillo Area

By Pottroff & Karlin LLC |

(Amarillo, Texas – September 25, 2013)

BNSF Railway once again proved the need for a satellite-based, train-collision prevention, human error-override system Wednesday morning at about 4:30 A.M. when an eastbound BNSF train rear-ended a standing freight train, only to then have a westbound BNSF train collide seconds later with the derailed wreckage of the first two trains at the intersection of U.S. Highway 69 and FM 1912 just east of Amarillo, TX.

Four BNSF railroad employees were rushed to Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo, where two were admitted in critical condition, and the other two admitted with less serious injuries.

The accident occurred where BNSF’s multi-tracked main line is paralleled by U.S. Highway 69 as Farm-to-Market Road 1912 crosses the tracks via an overpass. The area of the collision and derailment, which resulted in several locomotives and as many as 30 rail cars off the tracks, is near both Highland Park High School and the Tyson Fresh Meat processing plant, but due to BNSF officials assuring public safety authorities that no hazardous materials were on board any of the three trains, there was no plan to close either facility during clean-up operations. However, some concern was expressed regarding downed power lines lying across derailed cars, and Xcel Energy line and power crews were quickly assembled to shut down all live power lines and eliminate the potential electrical hazard.

Both the Potter County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Dept. of Public Safety Highway Patrol were at the scene to handle highway traffic on both main arteries as railroad and contract derailment crews began the work of re-railing freight cars and rebuilding the torn-up tracks.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced from its headquarters in the Nation’s Capital that it would be sending a team of investigators to look into the cause and ramifications which surround the serious train wreck. 

Not only had the NTSB placed the implementation of a Positive Train Control safety system, which would have prevented this as well as several other, often deadly, accidents occurring on the nation’s rail system, as the first priority item on the independent governmental transportation accident investigatory agency’s “Wish List” for 2013, but federal legislation requiring the installation of such a system by 2015 is possibly going to be shelved for another five years as the management of America’s largest railroads seeks to force Congress to delay the launch of PTC.


Railroad News


Train crash cases are unique and complex with many different potential pitfalls, such as federal preemption. Anytime I get hired or even get a call from a train crash victim, my very first call is to Nathan’s firm. Nathan’s knowledge and experience in handling and trying cases against these litigation savvy railroad companies gives me the confidence to know that the clients and cases I refer to him are getting the best of the best.

James Perrin Lubbock, Texas

I have had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Nathan on several railroad crossing accidents cases. In each case, Nathan always possessed an incredible knowledge of the law and the facts, possessed a great talent for aggressive - strategic legal planning and trial tactics while, at the same time, displaying great skill as an effective negotiator. I would recommend him to anyone without hesitation.

Scott McCluen Harriman, Tennessee

Nathan Karlin has my strongest endorsement in the field of railroad crossing cases and personal injury law. I had the pleasure of working with Nathan in a complex railroad personal injury case. I was impressed by Nathan’s knowledge, his work ethic, and his dedication to the client. I look forward to working with Nathan on future injury matters. I am also aware firsthand that he has obtained excellent trial and settlement results in numerous cases involving members of the public harmed by railroad companies.

Joseph M. Miller Mandeville, Louisiana

Nathan is a warrior fighting the railroads. As a fellow personal injury lawyer, I have constantly been impressed with his depth of knowledge and his capabilities from case to case. I’d take him into battle with me any day against the biggest railroads and insurance companies on the planet.

Jon C. Clark Austin, Texas

Bob Pottroff has fought for the victims of the railroads’ callous disregard for safety more than any other attorney that I know. I should know because I am currently Chair-elect of the Railroad Section of ATLA.

Robert Schuetze Boulder, Colorado

Mr. Pottroff has shaken the rail industry to its very roots. Settlements are now more common as a result of the way he has exposed the industry’s wrongdoing.

Mike Easley Arkansas

Bob Pottroff’s work in railroad safety law is unmatched and he has been the source of great advice and phenomenal creativity.

Roger Brown Jefferson City, Missouri

In addition to his substantive contributions to railroad grade crossing safety, I have personally observed his untiring efforts and contributions to improving the integrity of the legal system.

Elizabeth Hardy Lake Charles, Louisiana

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8