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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-06-021
Details
Synopsis: On April 3, 2005, about 9:35 a.m., westbound Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) passenger train No. 27, consisting of a single locomotive unit and four passenger cars, derailed at milepost (MP) 58.56 on the BNSF Railway Company’s (BNSF’s) Northwest Division. The train was traveling 60 mph on single main line track when it derailed as it was traveling through a cut section of the Columbia River Gorge on the north side of the Columbia River near Home Valley, Washington. The train remained upright; however, the cars came to rest leaning up to approximately 35 against the outside curved embankment. There were 106 passengers and 9 Amtrak employees on board. Thirty people (22 passengers and 8 employees) sustained minor injuries; 14 of those people were taken to local hospitals. Two of the injured passengers were kept overnight for further observation; the rest were released. Track and equipment damages, in addition to clearing costs associated with the accident, totaled about $854,000.
Recommendation: The National Transportation Safety Board makes the following safety recommendation to the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association: Using the circumstances of the April 3, 2005, accident near Home Valley, Washington, emphasize to your members through your publications, web site, and conferences, as appropriate, the need to establish inspection guidelines for track inspectors that address the problems and characteristics unique to concrete crossties for all classes of track. As your members develop these guidelines, encourage them to consider the elements in 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 213, "Track Safety Standards," for concrete crossties for Classes of Track 6 and higher.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Home Valley, WA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA05FR010
Accident Reports: Derailment of Amtrak Passenger Train No. 27
Report #: RAB-06-03
Accident Date: 4/3/2005
Issue Date: 10/25/2006
Date Closed: 11/27/2007
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Association of American Railroads (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
Date: 11/27/2007
Response: The Safety Board notes that a synopsis of the Home Valley, Washington, accident investigation, written by Mr. Lou Cerny, a consultant representing the AAR, was included in the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association’s (NCR’s) Bulletin on November 15, 2006. At the AAR’s Heavy Axle Load (HAL) Engineering Research Committee meeting on January 10-11, 2007, Mr. Cerny also briefed the committee members regarding the need to establish track inspection guidelines that address the problems and characteristics unique to concrete crossties. The Safety Board also notes that, at the committee meeting in January, the BNSF Railway Company gave a PowerPoint presentation addressing its experience with concrete tie rail seat abrasion, which discussed signs, symptoms and remedial actions. Information provided in the NCR’s Bulletin, on its Web site, and by the HAL Engineering Research Committee fully address the Board’s concern; accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-06-21 is classified “Closed—Acceptable Action.”

From: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
To: NTSB
Date: 6/7/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/18/2007 7:47:22 AM MC# 2070276:This letter is in response to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation of the derailment of Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) passenger train No. 27 operating on the BNSF Railway Company's Northwest Division at milepost (MP) 58.56 on April 3, 2005: and the subsequent recommendation R-06-21 to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). AAR has used the circumstances of this April 3, 2005, accident near Home Valley, Washington, to emphasize to its members through publications, web sites, committee meetings, and conferences the need to establish inspection guidelines that address the problems and characteristics unique to concrete crossties for all classes of track, including Classes six (6) and higher. Further, through The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), AAR has included this information and recommendation in attached NRC Bulletin - November 15, 2006. AAR Heavy Axle Load Engineering Research Committee, membership and meeting minutes also attached, met at the Transportation Technology Center (TTCI) in Pueblo, Colorado, on January 10 - 11, 2007, and discussed the AAR Crosstie and Fastener Performance project. Also attached is the PowerPoint presentation given by Committee Co-chairman Mike Armstrong of BNSF Railway. Addressing their experience with Concrete Tie Rail Seat Abrasion. Having met all elements outlined by NTSB in recommendation R-06-21, AAR believes subject recommendation classification should be changed to closed - acceptable action. Thank you for your continued common interest with AAR and its members in railroad safety.

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 11/21/2007
Response: The Safety Board notes that a synopsis of the Home Valley, Washington, accident investigation, written by Mr. Lou Cerny, a consultant representing the AAR, was included in the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association’s (NCR’s) Bulletin on November 15, 2006. At the AAR’s Heavy Axle Load (HAL) Engineering Research Committee meeting on January 10-11, 2007, Mr. Cerny also briefed the committee members regarding the need to establish track inspection guidelines that address the problems and characteristics unique to concrete crossties. The Safety Board also notes that, at the committee meeting in January, the BNSF Railway Company gave a PowerPoint presentation addressing its experience with concrete tie rail seat abrasion, which discussed signs, symptoms and remedial actions. Information provided in the NCR’s Bulletin, on its Web site, and by the HAL Engineering Research Committee fully address the Board’s concern; accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-06-21 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 6/7/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/18/2007 7:47:22 AM MC# 2070276:This letter is in response to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation of the derailment of Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) passenger train No. 27 operating on the BNSF Railway Company's Northwest Division at milepost (MP) 58.56 on April 3, 2005: and the subsequent recommendation R-06-21 to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). AAR has used the circumstances of this April 3, 2005, accident near Home Valley, Washington, to emphasize to its members through publications, web sites, committee meetings, and conferences the need to establish inspection guidelines that address the problems and characteristics unique to concrete crossties for all classes of track, including Classes six (6) and higher. Further, through The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), AAR has included this information and recommendation in attached NRC Bulletin - November 15, 2006. AAR Heavy Axle Load Engineering Research Committee, membership and meeting minutes also attached, met at the Transportation Technology Center (TTCI) in Pueblo, Colorado, on January 10 - 11, 2007, and discussed the AAR Crosstie and Fastener Performance project. Also attached is the PowerPoint presentation given by Committee Co-chairman Mike Armstrong of BNSF Railway. Addressing their experience with Concrete Tie Rail Seat Abrasion. Having met all elements outlined by NTSB in recommendation R-06-21, AAR believes subject recommendation classification should be changed to closed - acceptable action. Thank you for your continued common interest with AAR and its members in railroad safety.