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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation


Document Series
Accident Investigations
Federal Railroad Administration
Accident Date
Accident Type
Obstruction Collision (OBS)
Railroad Name
Canadian National Railway

Convent, LA
United States

Accident Number
Investigation Status
Subject Accident Investigations
Canadian National Railway, collision, excavator, Automatic Block Signaling
HQ-2021-1453_1.pdf (1.35 MB)

At approximately 3:31 p.m., CDT, on October 6, 2021, Train 1 requested permission to enter the working limits of a Contract Employee-in-Charge (EIC) and excavator operator contractor that were doing some work on and near the tracks around Convent, Louisiana, in St James Parish at Milepost (MP) 403.5 on the CN Baton Rouge Subdivision. Convent is located between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The EIC gave Train 1 permission to enter his limits and reported that all men and equipment were in the clear. Train 1 proceeded into the limits and was rounding a 1 degree, 0 minute right hand curve within the limits when the EIC saw the train coming and notified the operator of the excavator that the train was coming and was going to impact the piece of equipment. The operator jumped from the machine prior to impact and was not injured. When the crew saw the excavator fouling the track, the engineer placed the train into emergency, the local was traveling approximately 16 mph at impact. This Method of Operation in this territory is Yard Limits with Automatic Block Signaling (ABS) track authority with a maximum authorized speed of 40 mph. The line of sight to where the contractor was fouling the main track for the train crew coming out of the 1-degree 0 minute right hand was approximately 200 yards when the engineer placed the train in emergency. FRA has determined that this accident is the direct result of improper communication (H211) of the Right of Way contractor EIC. He was not aware of which train he was talking to when he gave the train permission to enter the limits and as a result, the train impacted with a piece of equipment that was fouling the track.

Last updated: Wednesday, October 6, 2021