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The remnants of a fatal Union Pacific train crash near Interstate 80 west of Cheyenne as seen on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. Two railroad employees died in the crash. Wyoming Tribune Eagle/file

CHEYENNE – While the investigation of a train crash that killed two people west of Cheyenne last year continues, the National Transportation Safety Board issued recommendations last week for railroads to prevent future accidents.

The board, which handles investigations of railroad and other transportation accidents, recommended that carriers inspect end-of-railcar air hoses and review their instructions for monitoring air flow meters.

It also suggested reviewing responses when air pressure from the end of the train fails to respond to an air brake application, and checking the status of communication between devices at both ends of the train before cresting a grade.

The recommendations come nearly a year after a Union Pacific train traveling eastbound collided with another train that was stopped on the track in the Granite Canon area last October. The crash killed both the engineer and the conductor of the moving train.

The railroad’s rules already cover all but one recommendation, which is for train engineers to check communication with the end-of-train device before cresting a grade, Union Pacific senior director of corporate communications and media relations Kristen South said in a statement.

“Many engineers already do this, but it is not a requirement,” South said. “A cross-functional team will review and make a determination about adjusting our rules.”

As Union Pacific reviews the recommendations, the safety board will continue its investigation, though it remains unclear when it will reach a conclusion, NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said.

Additional recommendations could come at the end of the investigation, 80% of which are typically adopted across all modes of transportation, Williams said.

Tom Coulter is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s state government reporter. He can be reached at 307-633-3124 or tcoulter@wyomingnews.com.

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