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SEPTA worker killed on subway tracks was caught between two trains

What caused the worker to be in the path of a SEPTA train on July 8 remains unanswered.

A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report looks into the circumstances of the death of SEPTA worker Darren Monroe, 54, on July 8.
A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report looks into the circumstances of the death of SEPTA worker Darren Monroe, 54, on July 8.Read moreDavid Maialetti / Staff Photographer

A man killed on SEPTA tracks during the summer was caught in a space between two Broad Street Line trains heading in opposite directions, a new report from federal investigators shows.

A preliminary report issued Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) included a diagram that showed Darren Monroe, 54, and another SEPTA worker, who suffered injuries in the July 8 incident, standing in a junction of the tracks, called an interlocking, that allows trains to shift from one rail to another.

A southbound train heading toward the Erie station passed them, the report stated. At the same moment, about 5:21 p.m., on a parallel track, another train heading in the opposite direction struck the men.

» READ MORE: SEPTA worker killed while doing track inspection, feds say. Safety procedures under investigation.

The report did not provide information on how Monroe ended up in the path of the northbound train. The Broad Street Line operates on four tracks, with the outer tracks dedicated to local trains and the inner tracks to expresses. The men were between the two inner tracks.

They were conducting inspections and light repairs at the time, the NTSB reported. Both wore reflective vests and hard hats, officials have said.

Monroe had worked for SEPTA for 17 years. The father of four from Northeast Philadelphia was the first SEPTA worker to die on the job since 2009, when a Regional Rail track inspector was killed.

Rail experts have said it is not unusual for workers to be near tracks while trains are operating. Maintaining a subway line requires daily effort to pick up debris, as well as to ensure that the tracks are secure and power systems are working properly. Typically, transit agencies don’t stop trains while this work is being done.

» READ MORE: SEPTA’s safety rules should prevent subway deaths, but on Monday, something went awry

A SEPTA spokesperson declined to comment on the NTSB report.

The investigation into Monroe’s death is ongoing, and the NTSB is expected to eventually provide conclusions about how it happened and make recommendations on how incidents like it could be avoided. So far, the federal agency reported, investigators have reviewed equipment on the track, conducted interviews, and gathered documents from SEPTA on workers’ qualifications, training, and schedules.

The investigation will focus on SEPTA’s safety procedures, protections for personnel working on or near tracks, and training and oversight, the agency reported.