Share story

WASHINGTON (AP) — Engineers on two nearby trains sounded their horns when they saw two conductors on a railroad track near Washington’s Union Station last month, but investigators say the men had their backs to the passenger train that struck and killed them.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report Tuesday that the CSX Transportation conductor and conductor trainee were hit while returning to their locomotive on June 27 after inspecting a railcar for defects.

The report states that engineers on passing northbound and southbound Amtrak trains sounded their horns when they spotted the conductors. As they approached the front of the locomotive, the NTSB says the space between the tracks narrowed and the conductors were hit by the southbound train traveling about 73 mph (117 kph).