Technological failure, miscommunication leads to train derailment in Berrien County

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. - An issue with Berrien County’s dispatch technology and the misidentification of a crossing ultimately led to the derailment of an Amtrak train in New Buffalo Township on November 16, according to the Berrien County Public Safety Communication Center.

According to the investigation, the dispatch center was having technical issues with its computer aided dispatch system and wasn’t able to input intersection cross streets to find specific locations on its map.

Around 9:30 p.m., the dispatch center was called twice about a stranded vehicle on a set of tracks in New Buffalo Township.

The dispatch center used a nearby business to pinpoint the stranded vehicle’s location but got the location wrong. They then told CSX, which operates the tracks at that location, the wrong crossing.

The technology issue has since been resolved, according to the county.

Berrien County officials said they’re reviewing its 911 emergency dispatch protocols to prevent something like this from happening again.

The county wants to change protocols related to computer and software updates, communication protocols with railroads and make a more user-friendly railroad crossing resource guide for dispatchers.

The incident is still under investigation.

You can listen to the dispatch audio below.

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