Saturday, May 11, 2002

Runaway train called a fluke

The Associated Press

        TOLEDO — In the year since a runaway freight train barreled through Ohio on a 66-mile journey, investigators have come to a conclusion that it was simply a “freak thing.”

        Federal and state investigators say that because what happened was so unusual and primarily the fault of the engineer, there was no need to order CSX Transportation to change its operational procedures.

        “It was somewhat of a fluke,” said Warren Flatau, a spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration.

        For two hours May 15, the train without anyone at the controls sailed at speeds up to 47 mph until a CSX employee leapt aboard and stopped it.

        The train's engineer had hopped off the train in a rail yard near Toledo to manually switch tracks as the train was still moving, the agency said. He thought he had set a braking system. Instead, he accidentally turned up the throttle, a railroad administration report said.

        The agency's investigation placed much of the blame on the train's engineer for making several errors in judgment.


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