EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Preliminary information released by the National Transportation Safety Board which is investigating a train derailment that killed a railroad employee on Aug. 29 confirms that a derailing device had been left on the track at a Union Pacific maintenance yard in the Lower Valley.
According to the preliminary report, a train, consisting of two locomotives and 61 cars, hit the derailment device.
The first two cars hit the device and the lead car landed on its side and then slid into a home along Barton Street, severing a natural gas line, according to the report.
The conductor of the train, 49-year-old Mario Aurelio Navarro, was killed in the crash, which happened about 9:15 p.m. on Aug. 29.
The neighborhood around the maintenance yard had to be evacuated temporarily because of the gas leak.
This confirms information that had been released by the El Paso Police Department the day after the crash.
While on the scene, NTSB investigators inspected the track structure, equipment involved in the accident, reviewed event recorder data and forward-facing image recordings, radio and telephone recordings, photographs and drone images and conducted interviews.
Future investigative activity “will focus on UP’s (Union Pacific’s) communications procedures related to transitioning train movement from controlled track onto noncontrolled track and its operating practices,” according to the information obtained by KTSM.