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Report blames crew error for Minnesota train collision

TWO HARBORS, Minn. - The National Transportation Safety Board released its determination Tuesday that a head-on collision between two ore trains in 2010 north of Two Harbors was the result of crew error. The federal agency also said the Canadian National Railway Co. also deserves part of the blame for a lax policy on train right-of-way communication on a route without signals.

The NTSB said the Sept. 30, 2010, accident that injured five crew members from both trains was the fault of the southbound CN train carrying 116 rail cars full of ore. The crew left a siding and entered the main track before getting permission. It later collided with a CN train headed north out of Two Harbors with 118 empty rail cars.

Three locomotives and 14 rail cars derailed in the crash.

The NTSB said the crew on the southbound train was suffering from fatigue.

The NTSB recommended that CN use electronic equipment to better identify which trains have passed others on sidings. Relying on crew members to visually identify trains leads to assumptions about which one has the authority, the preliminary report stated.