On-board camera captured July 4 derailment that killed Glenview couple
A freight train derailed and its crossing bridge collapsed Wednesday, July, 4th, near the Glenview and Northbrook border. Photo for the Sun-Times by Lee Hogan.
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Updated: October 29, 2012 11:56AM
A video camera on the Union Pacific freight train that derailed last week in Northbrook captured the train’s crash atop a bridge that then collapsed and killed a Glenview couple in a car beneath it, officials said.
Both Federal Railroad Administration and Union Pacific investigators are reviewing the video recorded by the train locomotive’s “track image recorder,” which focuses on the tracks, Union Pacific officials said on Tuesday.
“That will definitely have the part the investigative team is looking for,” Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said.
The recorder is just one piece of the evidence that investigators hope will lead to the final cause of the derailment that killed Burton and Zorine Lindner during a scorching July 4th afternoon.
An event recorder also captured the train’s brake application and speed — 37 mph — just before the crash. Trains that day were required to go no faster than 40 mph in that area because of a heat order, which required trains to go 10 mph slower than in average temperatures.
The evidence could reveal a “sun kink” in the track — an area of track affected by the extreme heat.
While federal inspections can take from three to nine months, Union Pacific will give its own ruling on the cause of the accident within weeks. But Union Pacific’s preliminary cause, Davis says, remains a track defect caused by the heat.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, high-powered personal injury attorney Robert Clifford announced he had been retained by the family of Burton and Zorine Lindner for a wrongful death lawsuit.
The suit accuses Union Pacific of negligence and claims the company failed to properly maintain and inspects its track.
Illinois recorded 11 Union Pacific train derailments from January through April, according to the latest federal figures. Of those 11, eight were caused by track defects. Federal guidelines define the causes of derailment by equipment defects, highway rail crossings, human factor, signal defect, track or other.
At the Northbrook crash site, all of the metal and bridge structure components and the damaged track has been moved aside for inspection.
Crews have been busy removing the rail cars and coal from the site as well.
Inspectors are working 12-hour shifts — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — cutting up the cars and removing them from the track. The work to remove the rail cars should take another week, Davis said.