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NTSB: Derailed train was on wrong track

The train that derailed on Sunday, October 21 near Niles, Michigan was on the wrong track, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB released information regarding the ongoing investigation on Wednesday.

Their investigation revealed

  • The train had a green signal allowing it to proceed to maximum speed
  • A switch leading off the main track just beyond the signal was reversed – aligning the train into a rail yard instead of the main track it was on.
  • A derailing device was installed between the yard track and the main track as a protective measure to derail cars that might accidently roll out of the yard before they reached the main track.
  • The passenger train dislodged the derailing device but did not derail at that point.
  • The train derailed about 290 feet beyond the switch.
  • The train continued on the yard track and stopped with all cars upright.
  • Empty ballast hopper cars were stored on the yard track, and the passenger train came to a stop 21 feet from the nearest hopper car.

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