Dallas – On June 29, Search and Rescue teams found the dead bodies of two BNSF Railway workers among the wreckage near the town of Panhandle. The two men were involved in a train collision last Tuesday, and the company reports that four of their workers were on board the two vehicles.

One of them managed to jump off the locomotive seconds before the impact which saved his life; he is currently in the hospital with minor wounds. However, the company reported there is another man that is missing, and the authorities presume him dead.

Three crew members were missing, and one was hurt Tuesday after a head-on train collision in Panhandle, Texas. Credit: Dallas News/ Sean Steffen/Amarillo Globe-News

Last Tuesday, two monorails crashed head on near the town of Panhandle, about 25 miles from Amarillo. Both machines belong to BNSF Railway, which is one of the biggest railroad companies in all the United States. Four of its crew members were reported to be on board the trains at the moment of the collision, but one of them jumped off the train moments before the accident. The other three were reported missing by the authorities, but the rescue teams found the remains of two of them this morning.

Neither the company nor the officials have exposed the cause of the accident. The BNSF Railway spokesperson said the organization did not know how the two locomotives ended up in the same rail, but they had already started an investigation. One of the trains had stopped in Amarillo to get extra fuel in preparation for a long journey to Los Angeles, and when the trains crashed, both machine’s fuel ignited which resulted in a fire that burnt until the morning.

The accident highlights the necessity of an update in railroad security protocols

Train accidents are particularly messy. The scenario left by the crash at Panhandle is chaotic. Dozens of huge containers are spread over 400 yards piled one on top of the other. The trains were carrying consumer-oriented goods such as televisions, furniture and more, and so far, the authorities have not reported any other casualty. Nevertheless, having two locomotives colliding on the same rail is unthinkable because there is a strict protocol all train drivers have to follow before starting the engines.

However, these type of accidents are not that rare, so the federal authorities have been pushing for new regulations. Among the new measures railroad companies have to take, there is a safety technology called Positive Train Control (PTC).

PTC is a system the authorities want to use to further monitor and control locomotive movements. It consists of two parts. One tells the train things like its current location, safe routes, and current speed among others. The other part is built in the vehicle, and it receives all this information and enforces the parameters set by the federal law. This system could have completely avoided the accident at Panhandle because once it detects two trains are in collision route, it can take quick action like for example, shutting down the engines or activating the brakes.

The Federal Railroad Administration set 2018 as the deadline for every railroad company to apply PTC to their infrastructure, and the BNSF Railway spokesperson said the company is aggressively working on it.

Source: KRIS TV