NTSB blames misaligned switch for Iowa train crash

Published On: Jun 14 2012 09:00:44 AM CDT   Updated On: Jun 14 2012 08:58:48 AM CDT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The National Transportation Safety Board says a misaligned switch leading into a rail yard caused a freight train to slam into some empty train cars in Bettendorf, Iowa, killing the conductor and engineer.

The 2009 crash happened when a Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern freight train went into the rail yard instead of staying on the main track. It hit 19 Burlington Northern Santa Fe cars.

The NTSB says in a report released Wednesday that the BNSF crew left the switch "incorrectly lined."

The board found the BNSF crew finished working on the track but didn't return the switch to the correct position. A contributing factor was a Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern dispatcher who authorized the DM and E train to use the track without confirming the switch was in the right position.