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On August 17, 2014, at 2:28 a.m. central daylight time, southbound Union Pacific Railroad (UP) freight train IMASNL-16 (southbound train) collided with northbound UP freight train IQNLPI-17 (northbound train) at milepost 228.6, while traversing the turnout at control point Y 229 on the UP Hoxie subdivision in Hoxie, Arkansas. Going north, the track in the area transitions from a single main track into two main tracks. As a result of the collision, the engineer and the conductor from the southbound train died, and the engineer and the conductor from the northbound train were seriously injured. The southbound train consisted of 2 locomotives and 86 cars; the northbound train consisted of 2 locomotives and 92 cars. The locomotives from both trains derailed and the second locomotive from the northbound train released diesel fuel, resulting in a fire. A total of 55 cars derailed, 41 cars from the southbound train and 14 cars from the northbound train. About 500 people within a 1.5-mile radius of the derailment were evacuated as a precaution. One tank car loaded with alcohol for human consumption breached and burned. The product posed no environmental hazard and emergency responders allowed the product to burn out. Damage was estimated by UP to be $10.7 million. The safety issues covered in this report include: fatigue and employee work schedules, medical issues, UP medical rules, automated systems that reset alertness devices, and positive train control. As a result of the investigation of this accident, the National Transportation Safety Board makes new safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration; BNSF Railway, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern Railway, Intercity Railroads, and Commuter Railroads; Class I Railroads; and Union Pacific Railroad. Further, the National Transportation Safety Board reiterates two recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration.
TO THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: Require freight railroads to use validated biomathematical fatigue models, similar to the models used by passenger railroads, to develop work schedules that do not pose an excessive risk of fatigue.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Unacceptable Response
Hoxie, AR, United States
Railroad Accident Report: Collision of Two Union Pacific Railroad Freight Trains
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FRA (Open - Unacceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
We are aware that the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires that railroads include a fatigue management plan (FMP) in their safety risk reduction plans. We note that you believe railroads will elect to use biomathematical modeling for some existing schedules without a regulatory requirement. We point out, however, that such has not been the case with freight carriers compared to passenger carriers, like Amtrak. We are also aware that the Rail Safety Advisory Committee Fatigue Management Working Group was developing standards for a railroad FMP to consider sleep disorders and other medical conditions that could adversely affect a safety sensitive employee’s alertness, and an ANPRM was issued; however, as mentioned above, you withdrew the ANPRM on sleep apnea, and nothing in your letter suggests that you will require freight carriers to systematically identify work schedules that pose an excessive risk of fatigue. Further, the last major change you made to fatigue management was a rule change to passenger service to establish and amend hours-of-service regulations, including maximum on duty periods, minimum off-duty periods, and other limitations for train employees (such as locomotive engineers and conductors) providing commuter and intercity rail passenger transportation. Pending your requiring that freight railroads use validated biomathematical fatigue models to develop work schedules that do not pose an excessive risk of fatigue, Safety Recommendation R-16-43 is classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Patrick T. Warren, Executive Director performing the duties of the Administrator: Thank you for your January 24, 2017, letter to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regarding the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) Safety Recommendations R-16-043 and R-16-044, as well as the reiterations of Safety Recommendations R-13-21 and R-12-16. FRA understands NTSB issued these recommendations as a result of its investigation of an August 17, 2014, accident, in which two Union Pacific Railroad (UP) freight trains collided at the UP Hoxie subdivision in Hoxie, AR. The enclosure responds to Safety Recommendations R-16-043 and R-16-044, and explains FRA's position on these recommendations as well as Safety Recommendations R-13-21 and R-12-16. FRA is actively working to achieve the intent of these recommendations and offer the attached description of action to inform you of our progress. FRA agrees human fatigue represents a serious safety risk. FRA is committed to working with our research partners, rail labor, and rail management on regulatory, voluntary, and research efforts aimed at reducing the risks associated with employee fatigue in the railroad industry. Section 103 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of2008 (Public Law 110-432, Division A, 122 Stat. 4848-4906, enacted October 16, 2008) requires that certain railroads develop a railroad safety risk reduction program. 49 U.S.C. 20156. Section 103(d)(2) of the RSIA requires a railroad to include a fatigue management plan (FMP) in its railroad safety risk reduction program that meets the requirements of subsection (f) of the same section. 49 U.S.C. 20156(d)(2). FRA believes many railroads will elect to model the fatigue effects of their schedules using biomathematical models as part of their FMP. Indeed, some freight railroads use biomathematical modeling for some existing schedules in advance of any regulatory requirement. Additionally, FRA has awarded grants to railroads wishing to voluntarily develop fatigue management plans including biomathematical modeling. FRA has encouraged railroads to continue to use biomathematical modeling and expand its use at the conclusion of the grant period. The reliability, validity, and practical limitations of such models are, therefore, of critical importance to effective fatigue management. As part of its long-term research emphasis on fatigue in the railroad industry, FRA has employed biomathematical models to examine the schedules of railroad employees involved in human factor-related accidents. In addition, FRA has used railroad data to validate two models in current use and to calibrate the models with one another. The report discussing validation and calibration can be found at http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L04301#p1 z5gDkbiomathematical. Currently, FRA is preparing to participate in a DOT-wide Federal Fatigue Management and Research Working Group; the first meeting is scheduled for early spring 2017. This crosscutting group will work together to develop solutions to excessive fatigue in a coordinated and collaborative manner. The group will identify research needs, technology advancements, gaps in current technology, and other high priority issues in the area of fatigue risk management. Broader use of biomathematical fatigue modeling to reduce excessive fatigue in the commercial transportation industry, including freight rail, will be one area of focus for the working group. FRA continues to explore other non-regulatory ways to reduce fatigue in the rail industry, including the proposal of fatigue-related pilot projects, peer-to-peer programs, research and simulation studies, and educational and outreach programs. FRA will continue to work with its stakeholders to reduce the safety risks associated with fatigue in the rail industry.
-From Karl Alexy, Director, Office of Safety Analysis: Thank you for your January 24, 2017, letter to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regarding the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) new recommendations R-16-043, R-16-044, and reiterated recommendations R-13-21, and R-12-16, in response to the August 17, 2014, Union Pacific Railroad accident in Hoxie, AR. FRA is working to respond to the recommendations in NTSB' s letter and will respond as soon as possible. Improving safety is FRA's top priority and FRA will continue to work to make rail travel as safe as possible. FRA is committed to working with NTSB to prevent future accidents and save lives. FRA welcomes and will consider all recommendations that will further that goal.
On December 19, 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) adopted its report concerning the August 17, 2014, accident, in which two Union Pacific Railroad (UP) freight trains collided on the UP Hoxie subdivision in Hoxie, Arkansas.1 Additional information about this accident and the resulting recommendations may be found in the report of the investigation, which can be accessed at our website, http://www.ntsb.gov, under report number RAR-16/03. As a result of this investigation, we reiterated Safety Recommendations R-13-21 and R-12-16; and issued five new recommendations, including one to BNSF Railway, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, Intercity Railroads, and Commuter Railroads; one to the Class I Railroads; one to Union Pacific Railroad; and the following two recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
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