(Kosse, Texas – April 6, 2014)
One southbound Union Pacific freight train rear-ended another Sunday night at about 9:45 P.M. near the central Texas town of Kosse, about 100 miles southwest of Dallas, resulting in injury to the engineer and conductor of the second train, derailment of at least one locomotive and 14 cars, and the spillage of at about 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel from the derailed locomotive as it continued to leak fuel with a potential of the loss of another 2,000 gallons yet contained in its massive fuel tanks.
According to Texas Dept. of Public Safety Trooper D.L. Wilson, both HazMat remediation crews and investigators from Union Pacific were on their way to the scene early Monday morning. The two injured employees were taken to a medical facility in Limestone County, TX for treatment of undisclosed injuries. The crash happened near the county lines of Limestone and Falls counties.
Apparently new UPRR Spokeswoman Elizabeth Hutchinson said that there were no hazardous materials being carried by either train, and that “We have begun to work to restore the line of track to service, which will include re-railing equipment and making track repairs.”
Few, if any, details of the cause for the collision were available, but it was quite obvious that the wreck represented yet another accident that could have either been avoided or reduced in serious nature through installation of the long-awaited and congressionally-mandated Positive Train Control system, which uses satellite technology to override human error and stop or slow trains which are headed for collision before severe contact can occur.
The National Transportation Safety Board has continually encouraged the earlier activation of PTC as it investigated numerous collisions, many of them deadly, between both freight and passenger trains travelling on the same tracks, but the railroad industry, through its Association of American Railroads lobbying organization, has repeatedly battled against the much-needed and federally-legislated system. The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires installation and activation of the system by December 31, 2015, but the railroad industry has lobbied for a five-year delay to the mandate, thus continuing to imperil the public who ride passenger and commuter trains as well as those who live and work near active freight railroad tracks.
According to Federal Railroad Administration records, the UPRR line through Kosse carries about 20 freight trains daily.