RAILROAD ACCIDENT REPORT--LOUISVILLE AND NASHVILLE RAILROAD COMPANY FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILMENT AND PUNCTURE OF ANHYDROUS AMMONIA TANK CARS AT PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, NOVEMBER 9, 1977

About 6:06 p.m., on November 9, 1977, 2 SD-45 locomotive units and 35 cars of Louisville & Nashville freight train No. 407 derailed when entering 6 deg 04 min curve at Pensacola, Florida. The adjacent tank heads of the 18th and 19th cars were punctured during the derailment by a loose wheel and axle assembly; this released anhydrous ammonia into the atmosphere. Two persons died and 46 were injured as a result of the derailment, release of anhydrous ammonia, and evacuation of about 1,000 persons. Property damage was estimated to be $724,000. The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the overturning of the high rail in the 6 deg 04 min curve which caused track gage to widen. The high rail tipped because it was not able to withstand the lateral forces generated by the 6-axle locomotive units because of the tight gage of the track, and the forces generated because of the placement of a lightly loaded long car and an empty short car directly behind the locomotive with large trailing tonnage. The cause of the fatalities and injuries was the release of anhydrous ammonia through punctures in the tank cars; head shields would have prevented such punctures.

  • Corporate Authors:

    National Transportation Safety Board

    Bureau of Accident Investigation, 800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20594
  • Publication Date: 1978-7-20

Media Info

  • Pagination: 47 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00185951
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NTSB-RAR-78-4
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 29 1979 12:00AM