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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-18-027
Synopsis: On March 7, 2017, a 2016 Van Hool motorcoach, operated by ECHO Transportation and occupied by a driver and 49 passengers, was traveling northbound on Main Street in Biloxi, Mississippi. The motorcoach stopped in advance of a highway–railroad grade crossing on Main Street that had a high vertical profile. The crossing warning system was not in active mode when the motorcoach approached, stopped, and then moved onto the railroad tracks. As the driver attempted to drive over the crossing, the frame of the motorcoach came into contact with the pavement, and the vehicle became stuck on the crossing. An eastbound freight train operated by CSX Transportation was approaching the crossing. The grade crossing warning system activated when the train was about 29 seconds away. As soon as he became aware of the approaching train, the motorcoach driver opened the vehicle’s loading door and told the passengers to evacuate. The train engineer put the train into emergency about 502 feet west of the crossing. About 14 seconds later, the train struck the left side of the motorcoach, pushing it 259 feet down the tracks before coming to a stop, with the motorcoach still in contact with the lead locomotive. Four motorcoach passengers died, the driver and 37 passengers sustained injuries, and 8 passengers were uninjured. The investigation focused on the safety issues of high-profile grade crossings and emergency egress and extrication. As a result of this investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) makes new safety recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Mississippi Department of Transportation, City of Biloxi, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association, Association of American Railroads, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and Class I railroads. The NTSB reiterates and reclassifies one recommendation to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Recommendation: CITY OF BILOXI MISSISSIPPI: Implement a program to document incidents of vehicle groundings at grade crossings and to share this information with the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Biloxi, MS, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: HWY17MH010
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report: Highway HWY17MH010​Collision Between Freight Train and Charter Motorcoach at High-Profile Highway–Railroad Grade Crossing Biloxi, Mississippi March 7, 2017
Report #: HAR-18-01
Accident Date: 3/7/2017
Issue Date: 8/28/2018
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of Mississippi, City of Biloxi (Open - Acceptable Response)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Mississippi, City of Biloxi
Date: 4/3/2019
Response: We appreciate your sending us the requested documents regarding the Main Street crossing and communications with CSX Transportation Inc., which have been distributed to staff as appropriate. We note that you are working to implement a vehicle grounding documentation program and plan to share the resulting information with both the Mississippi DOT and CSX. Because these efforts show positive action toward addressing the intent of this recommendation, pending implementation of the recommended program, Safety Recommendation H-18-27 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: State of Mississippi, City of Biloxi
Date: 8/28/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On August 7, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Collision Between Freight Train and Charter Motorcoach at High-Profile Highway–Railroad Grade Crossing, Biloxi, Mississippi, March 7, 2017, NTSB/HAR 18/01. The details of the investigation and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to the City of Biloxi, Mississippi, which can be found on p. 52 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement this recommendation. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.

From: State of Mississippi, City of Biloxi
Date: 11/30/2017
Response: A.M. Gilich, Jr., Mayor, City of Biloxi, Mississippi: In response to the NTSB request for information which the City received on or about August 28, 2018, the City encloses the following: a) City Resolution 259-18 (May 18, 2018) regarding improvements to the Main Street crossing. b) September 10, 2018 request from City of Biloxi to CSX regarding assistance with funding. c) CSX response of September 25, 2018. With respect to the NTSB recommendation (H-18-27) directed to the City, the City is in the process of implementing a program which will provide timely documentation of incidents of vehicle groundings at grade crossings. The City plans to share this information with CSX and the Mississippi Department of Transportation.