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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-05-011
Details
Synopsis: On October 12, 2003, about 4:38 p.m., central daylight time, westbound Metra train 519 derailed its two locomotives and five passenger cars as it traversed a crossover from track 1 to track 2 near Control Point 48th Street in Chicago, Illinois. The train derailed at a recorded speed of about 68 mph. The maximum authorized speed through the crossover was 10 mph. There were about 375 passengers and a crew of 3 on board. As a result of the accident, 47 passengers were transported to eight local hospitals. Of these, 44 were treated and released, and 3 were admitted for observation. Damages from the accident exceeded $5 million.
Recommendation: Based on its investigation of the October 12, 2003, Metra train derailment in Chicago, Illinois, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following safety recommendations to Metra: Use locomotive engineer simulator training to go beyond developing basic skills and teach strategies for effectively managing multiple concurrent tasks and atypical situations.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA04MR001
Accident Reports: Derailment of Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Train 519
Report #: RAR-05-03
Accident Date: 10/12/2003
Issue Date: 11/23/2005
Date Closed: 3/17/2008
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation) (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Training and Education, Simulator

Safety Recommendation History
From: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 5/1/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/13/2008 10:42:35 AM MC# 2080254: As you stated, the five simulators were used for the class of locomotive engineers that started in 2007 and are scheduled to be certified by June of 2008. The next class of locomotive engineers dstart in July of 2008. We also use the simulators in the recertification process of all engineers. Twenty-two have been recertified to date. All users have responded positively to the usefulness of the simulators to train on multiple concurrent tasks and atypical situations.

From: NTSB
To: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
Date: 3/17/2008
Response: The Safety Board notes that Metra has installed and tested five locomotive simulators for use in initial student engineer training, engineer recertification training, remedial training, and continuing engineer education for periodic skills assessment. On October 30, 2007, Board staff contacted Mr. Marty Fitts (Superintendent of Transportation, Training, Certification, and Compliance), who confirmed that the simulators were being used by the fall 2007 class of student engineers. The simulators will be used in engineer recertification starting in 2008. This initiative is responsive to the Board’s recommendation; accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-05-11 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 8/21/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/29/2007 10:18:31 AM MC# 2070447: This is in response to your letter of July 20, 2007 and will serve to update the NTSB on the status of Metra’s progress in improving engineer training and Rock Island District and positive train control installation. Specific response items are as follows: R-05-11 Locomotive simulators for initial engineer training and for periodic skills assessments have been delivered and are in the process of final installation at Metra general offices. Four units were received from the manufacturer on July 16,2007 and the final unit is expected during the last week in September. Projected in-service date for the simulators is October 1. They will be used for our next class of student engineers which begins in the fall of 2007. It is our intent to use the simulators in engineer re-certifications starting in 2008. They will also be used for remedial training and continuing engineer education.

From: NTSB
To: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
Date: 7/20/2007
Response: The Safety Board notes that Metra has ordered five half-cab locomotive simulators for use in its engineer training programs for new and currently certified engineers. Metra expects to receive them by May 31, 2007, and place them in service by July 1, 2007. The simulators will be capable of creating scenarios with simultaneous operational challenges and unexpected circumstances that locomotive engineers may face in everyday operations. This initiative is responsive to the Board’s recommendation. Please notify us when the simulators are operational and inform us as to how they will be programmed and used to address the training discussed in the recommendation. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation R-05-11 remains classified Open Acceptable Response.

From: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 12/12/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 12/19/2006 2:58:41 PM MC# 2060605: Metra has currently ordered five half-cab simulators and expects to receive them by May 31, 2007. The simulators should be placed in service by July 1,2007.

From: NTSB
To: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
Date: 11/28/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that Metra is purchasing a minimum of two locomotive simulators for use in its engineer training programs for new and currently certified engineers. Metra currently plans to have one simulator on line no later than the first quarter of 2007. The simulators will be capable of creating scenarios with simultaneous operational challenges and unexpected circumstances that locomotive engineers may face in everyday operations. This initiative is responsive to the Board’s recommendation. The Board would appreciate being informed when the simulators are onsite and operational. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation R-05-11 is classified Open Acceptable Response.

From: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 12/14/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 12/19/2005 3:30:26 PM MC# 2050573:Thank you for your report concerning the derailment of Metra Rock Island District Train #519 on Sunday, October 12, 2003. We appreciate the efforts of you and your staff in thoroughly investigating this accident. As you can well imagine this was a traumatic experience for all involved. We at Metra were terribly saddened by the injuries suffered by our passengers and crew. Regarding the Board’s specific recommendations we respectfully offer the following: Locomotive Simulators and Associated Training (R-05-11) Prior to your letter of November 23rd, Metra had already undertaken the initiative to purchase locomotive simulators to be used exactly as the Board recommends. We will not only use these devices as an integral part of our engineer training program but also to currently certified engineers. Available technology will allow us to create scenarios, which are clearly extraordinary to an engineer’s day-to-day routine. We completely endorse the Boards recommendations, to present trainees with simultaneous operational challenges that they may face in the field preparing the engineer to operate safely even while coping with unusual or unexpected circumstances. Metra takes your recommendations seriously. We trust that the information provided in this letter meets with your approval.