Ufa train wreck

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Ufa train disaster
Date 4 June 1989
Time 1:15
Location Chelyabinsk Oblast
Country Soviet Union
Rail line Kuybyshev Railway
Trains 2
Passengers 1.300
Deaths 575
Injuries 800
Damage 2 Train

Coordinates: 54°56′38″N 57°5′10″E / 54.94389°N 57.08611°E / 54.94389; 57.08611

The Ufa train disaster was an explosion on the Kuybyshev Railway on 4 June 1989 at 1:15 (local time) in the Soviet Union, about 50 kilometers from the city of Ufa. It was the deadliest railway accident in Russian and Soviet history, with 575 confirmed dead.

The explosion occurred after a pipeline began leaking liquid natural gas[1] (mainly propane and butane), creating a highly flammable cloud that was soon ignited by wheel sparks from two passenger trains heading in opposite directions near the site of the leak. Both trains were carrying many children: one was returning from a holiday vacation resort on the Black Sea and the other was en route.[2] Estimates of the size of the explosion have ranged from 250–300 tons of TNT equivalent[3] up to 10,000 tons of TNT equivalent.[1] According to official figures, 575 people died and more than 800 were injured.[1][4] The exact location was near the town of Asha.


According to Dmitry Chernov and Didier Sornette, a number of factors contributed to the disaster.[5]

  • rush work culture,
  • canceling the addition of telemetry,
  • taking authority to stop trains away from dispatchers,
  • changing the type and the amount of the product sent through the pipe,
  • changing the allowed pipe pressure,
  • cutting corners,
  • no proper processes in place for safe working.

Authorities concealed the risks after the accident.


  1. ^ a b c "Russia remembers 1989 Ufa train disaster". RIA Novosti. 2009-06-04.  (English)
  2. ^ Bill Keller (June 5, 1989). "500 on 2 Trains Reported Killed By Soviet Gas Pipeline Explosion". New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2011.  (English)
  3. ^ "Железнодорожные катастрофы на территории России" [Train Crash in Russia]. Vesti. November 11, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2011.  (Russian)
  4. ^ Toll up to 645 in Soviet train blast, Chicago Sun-Times (July 26, 1989)(English)
  5. ^ Chernov, Dmitry; Sornette, Didier (2016). "Ufa Train Disaster (USSR, 1989)" (PDF). Man-made Catastrophes and Risk Information Concealment: Case Studies of Major Disasters and Human Fallibility. Springer. 

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