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Nostalgia & History > 25th anniversary of a rail tragedy


Date: 02/22/21 06:30
25th anniversary of a rail tragedy
Author: bigsavage

While recently looking through some of Johnny Floyd's materials in my possession, I realized that the 25th anniversary of a tragedy had slipped by.
On Friday, February 16, 1996, the westbound Capitol Limited and a eastbound MARC commuter train collided at Georgetown Jct., in Silver Spring, MD.
11 persons were killed, and 26 hospitalized, the dead were all on the MARC train, which was running cab car forward. All 3 MARC/CSX crew members and 8 passengers were killed either by impact or being caught in the diesel fuel fire which followed. There were many persons with minor injuries, but the Amtrak crew acted heroically to evacuate all 160 passengers from the Capitol Limited.
Johnny went to the scene on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 17. He stayed all day and shot many photos.
I have selected 5 of his photos and a AP Press pic from my collection to show what happened.
This wreck would be as controversial as the Amtrak Philadelphia accident on 5/12/2015, but the NTSB report is RAR97-02 for further reading.








Date: 02/22/21 06:33
Re: 25th anniversary of a rail tragedy
Author: bigsavage

As soon as investigators finished their work, and the press got a brief visit close to the wreckage, Hulcher lined up their equipment and went to work.
By late afternoon, the westbound main was reopened.








Date: 02/22/21 06:54
Re: 25th anniversary of a rail tragedy
Author: ClubCar

Thanks for the photos and story as I remember this incident well as it was well documented in the newspapers and on TV.  The MARC Train crew were to blame as a signal that was yellow was passed by too fast, most likely the engineer did not notice that it was yellow and when the next signal was red, it was too late for him to stop his train in time.  Sad for sure.
John in White Marsh, Maryland



Date: 02/22/21 08:08
Re: 25th anniversary of a rail tragedy
Author: AmHog

the delay in block signs came out of this trajedy



Date: 02/22/21 11:42
Re: 25th anniversary of a rail tragedy
Author: chess

ClubCar Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for the photos and story as I remember this
> incident well as it was well documented in the
> newspapers and on TV.  The MARC Train crew were
> to blame as a signal that was yellow was passed by
> too fast, most likely the engineer did not notice
> that it was yellow and when the next signal was
> red, it was too late for him to stop his train in
> time.  Sad for sure.
> John in White Marsh, Maryland
The MARC train passed an approach signal, then made a station stop. It then accelerated up to normal speed, the crew forgetting about the approach signal could not stop the train before the stop signal. Westbound Amtrak, the Capitol Limited, it's engineer saw what was happening, and accelerated to try to avoid a head on. As mentioned in another post, the delayed in block rule and signs were put into place after this accident.



Date: 02/22/21 19:43
Re: 25th anniversary of a rail tragedy
Author: Off-pending

Was the freight train sitting there during the accident?

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/23/21 06:32
Re: 25th anniversary of a rail tragedy
Author: bigsavage

Yes, this was K-951, AKA the "Rock Runner", a dedicated unit train that hauls ballast and crushed stone from quarries in West Virginia to an unloading site in Bladensburg, MD.
Its crew made the first emergency call to the CSX dispatcher advising of the wreck.
Its presence and that of 2 other trains in the area caused concern among first responders until contact and coordination with CSX officials and crews was established.
The NTSB report goes into great detail about this.



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