JACKSON TOWNSHIP | Inattention to signals, ineffective communication, distraction from text messaging and speeding were all cited as factors in the Jan. 12, 2012, crash that involved three trains and injured two people, according to a federal agency.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its findings in an Aug. 20, 2013, report.
The crash involved three trains, all going the same direction on two tracks in the Jackson Township area.
According to the report, two slower moving trains were instructed to move to the track to the south and remain stopped to allow a faster train to pass on the track to the north.
The report states the first train switched tracks and was stopped in the area of County Road 600 North in Porter County.
The report states the second train switched tracks, but rammed into the first train, causing some of the cars to derail onto the northern track.
The third train ran into those derailed cars.
The report states the crew of the first train radioed the second train that it had stopped and its location, but there was confusion over whether the engineer of the second train received the message.
The conductor on the second train told NTSB investigators that the engineer’s head was down when the conductor had called out wayside signals. He said “he did not know if the engineer had fallen asleep or was focused on other activities.”
The NTSB also noted that, just minutes before the crash, the conductor received two calls to his cellphone. The report states it could not be determined whether the calls were answered, but the conductor sent a text message to the person who had made the two calls to him.
Sending a text message while on duty is not permitted by CSX, according to the report.
The report states the second train was traveling 40 mph just before the crash, although the signals indicated it should have been going only 15 mph at that time.