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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-05-013
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: TO METRA (NORTHEAST ILLINOIS REGIONAL COMMUTER RAILROAD): Install a positive train control system on your commuter train routes.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
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:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation) (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Positive Train Control

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
Date: 5/13/2014
Response: We understand that, in October 2006, you entered into an agreement with a vendor for the purchase of a PTC system; and, although you are working to implement the system on the Rock Island District, your supplier has been unable to provide the reliability needed for commuter service. We are encouraged that you will continue to work on the system, however, in the hopes of achieving the safety and reliability needed in commuter operations, and we note that you are in the process of procuring the next generation Interoperable Electronics Train Management System (I-ETMS), which will be installed on all your lines. We further understand that the I-ETMS meets the requirements of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, that you have an approved PTC implementation plan, and that you are in the process of hiring a PTC system integrator. Pending completion of these efforts, Safety Recommendation R-05-13 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 3/7/2014
Response: -From Donald A. Orseno, Executive Director: In regards to Safety Recommendation R-05-1 3, Metra entered into an agreement with Wabtec on Oct. 12, 2006, for the purchase ofthe ETMS PTC system. Metra is still working toward the implementation of that system on its Rock Island District; however, as of this date, the supplier has been unable to provide the reliability needed for commuter service. Metra will continue to work on this system in the hopes of achieving the safety and reliability needed in commuter operations. Metra is also in the process of procuring the next generation 1-ETMS system, which will be installed on all Metra lines. I-ETMS will meet the requirements of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of2008. Metra has an approved PTC implementation and is the process of hiring a PTC system integrator.

From: NTSB
To: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
Date: 12/18/2013
Response: Our last update from Metra regarding this recommendation was dated May 1, 2008. Based on action Metra had taken and planned as of that date, Safety Recommendation R-05-13 was classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE pending completion of PTC installation.

From: NTSB
To: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
Date: 5/12/2009
Response: The NTSB notes that Metra is currently installing an Electronic Train Management System (ETMS) on its Rock Island District, with testing expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2009. Metra expects then to submit its Product Safety Plan to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for its approval in the second quarter of 2009. The NTSB notes that this schedule may be delayed because of a locomotive event recorder regulation that requires the ETMS signal aspect to be recorded on a crashworthy memory module by October 1, 2009. The FRA believes that because this is a new system, it should meet the requirements for a crashworthy event recorder before being placed in service. We would appreciate receiving updates as Metra’s efforts continue to address the recommendation. On October 16, 2008, the President signed into law the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, P.L. 110-432. This law requires, within the following 18 months (not later than April 2010), that each class I railroad and each entity providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation develop and submit to the Secretary of Transportation a plan for implementing a PTC system by December 31, 2015. The plan is required for governing operations on main line over which intercity and commuter rail passenger trains regularly operate or over which poison or toxic-by-inhalation hazardous materials are transported and any other tracks prescribed by the Secretary. Specifically, the plan must describe how the operator will provide for interoperability of the system with movements of trains of other railroad carriers over its lines and must implement the system in a manner that addresses areas of greater risk in accordance with the plan. The Secretary of Transportation will prescribe regulations or issue orders necessary for implementation. Pending installation of a PTC system, Safety Recommendation R-05-13 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

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: - From Philip A. Pagano, Executive Director: Installation of ETMS on our Rock Island District continues, with testing completed by the end of 2008. When testing is complete the Product SafetyPlan (PSP) will be submitted to the FRA. Approval bythe FRAis anticipated by the end of the first quarter in 2009. ‘ I We do have an open issue with the FRA that could impact the schedule. The issue is the crash worthiness of onboard recorded data. The FRA has stated they dnot permit revenue operation of ETMS unless the signal aspects are recorded on a memory board as required by49 CFR 229.135(b)(l)(k). The future crash worthiness requirement for event recorder memoryis not scheduled to become fullyeffective until October 1,2009 but the FRA believes since this is a new system it should meet the requirements for crash worthtness before being placed in service. Wabco, our ETMS provider, is in the design process for an acceptable system

From: NTSB
To: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
Date: 3/17/2008
Response: The Safety Board notes that Metra is currently installing an electronic train management system (ETMS) on approximately 18 miles of wayside equipment of its Rock Island District between milepost 23 and 40.6 and has completed the installation on three models of Metra locomotives and a cab car. The installation of an ETMS is continuing on the remainder of the Rock Island District fleet. The Safety Board also notes that Metra has submitted draft ETMS documentation to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for review. On October 31, 2007, staff contacted Mr. Tom McFarlin, Director, FRA Signal and Train Control Division, who confirmed that an internal review has been completed and a draft response with comments was being finalized. Once the review and response are complete, Metra will need to file its plans for the field testing to the FRA, as required by §236.913(j), prior to submission and approval of a Product Safety Plan. Field testing of the ETMS is scheduled for the first quarter of 2008, with final testing and approval expected by the end of 2008. Pending Metra’s completion of its installation of an ETMS on the Rock Island District and on all its other commuter train routes, Safety Recommendation R-05-13 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. We look forward to receiving further updates as progress continues to address this recommendation. The Safety Board notes your continued disagreement with the Board’s Closed Unacceptable Action classification of Safety Recommendation R-05-18 on November 28, 2006, regarding the installation of an automatic train control system with cab signals on the entire Joliet Sub District. We stand by our decision to classify the recommendation as unacceptable 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: - From Philip A. Pagano, Executive Director: 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-05-13 Metra Engineering/Signal personnel are currently installing ETMS wayside equipment in the designated test area on our Rock Island District (MP 23 to MP 40.6). Twelve locations are currently installed and we anticipate the addition of one more location per week. Engineering for each location is complete and materials have been delivered on time from Wabtec. Metra’s Mechanical Department has completed the initial installation of ETMS on one of each type of Metra locomotive (F40PHM, F40PH and MP36), and a Metra cab control car. Installation is now proceeding on the remainder of the fleet in accordance with specifications developed in the initial prototype installations. ETMS documentation is now being reviewed on an informal basis by the FRA prior to formal submission for FRA approval of the ETMS system. Wabtec is currently building system software based on the approval documentation. Field verification of the track database is scheduled for mid-September at which time access points from the storage yards will be mapped and entered into the track database. Field-testing of the ETMS system is scheduled for the first quarter of 2008, with a goal of final testing and approval by the end of that year.

From: NTSB
To: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
Date: 7/20/2007
Response: The Safety Board notes that Metra has awarded a contract to install an Electronic Train Management System (ETMS), a PTC system, on approximately 40 miles of track in its Rock Island District. Material delivery is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2007. Installation, testing, and Federal Railroad Administration approval are expected to extend into 2008. Under the contract, ETMS will be installed on 24 locomotives and 24 passenger cars, which will enforce all permanent signal and speed restrictions on curves, crossovers, or bridges and will automatically operate the brakes in the event the engineer fails to control the train properly. Pending Metra’s completion of its installation of ETMS on the Rock Island and on all other commuter lines that Metra owns, Safety Recommendation R-05-13 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: - From Philip A. Pagano, Executive Director: Metra has awarded a contract for Phase I of the Electronic Train Management System (ETMS) for our Rock Island District with material delivery to begin in the first quarter of 2007. Phase I of the ETMS will automatically enforce all permanent speed restrictions such as crossover moves or physical constraints such as curves. The balance of the materials should be delivered in 2007 with installation, testing and FRA approval extending into 2008.

From: NTSB
To: Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation)
Date: 11/28/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes Metra’s response that adequate funding is not available to install a PTC system throughout its entire 545-mile network. The Board further notes that Metra is assessing an alternate approach that it believes will serve the purpose of a PTC system on its commuter routes: an electronic train management system (ETMS) pilot program that is being tested between Beardstown, Kentucky, and Centralia, Illinois, on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF). This system is designed to (1) control the train brakes in the event that the engineer fails to respond to a more restricting signal and (2) to bring the train to a stop, if necessary. Metra has met with representatives of the BNSF and its contractor and will identify those features of ETMS that Metra would initially incorporate into its program. The Safety Board looks forward to updates as you proceed to implementation of this system. Pending Metra’s completing its evaluation and installation of ETMS, Safety Recommendation R-05-13 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE 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: - From Philip A. Pagano, Executive Director: Metra understands the Board’s desire for such a system and that this item is on the Board’s list of “Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements. While we agree that such a system alleviates accidents, available funding for public transportation is not adequate to install such a system throughout Metra’s network. Additionally, we understand that the Federal Railroad Administration has only recently issued standards, which would apply to such systems. We are following, with great interest, the Electronic Train Management System (ETMS) being developed by the BNSF Railway in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration. The system, as we understand, would utilize on-board computers tied to GPS and wayside antennas to control the movement of trains if an engineer failed to properly respond to a restricting signal aspect. ETMS, if successful, could accomplish all aspects of positive train control without embedded capital-intensive installations and a lengthy installation period. We are committed to closely following its testing and development and if successful, begin a program to test it on the Metra system. In the interim we have embarked on our own initiative to utilize embedded radios announcing to the engineer, a trains approach to a control point approach signal. The system will add an additional reminder to the engineer that the next signal will govern the train movement through an area where the train may be placed on a diverging route and a speed reduction required. The engineer will be required to acknowledge the audible alert. We are developing the specifications internally and are working with the signal group of the Federal Railroad Administration for their review and input. We expect to have the program in place by the end of 2007. Metra takes your recommendations seriously. We trust that the information provided in this letter meets with your approval.