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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched investigative teams to two very similar accidents within 13 weeks of one another. In both accidents, the engineers failed to stop their trains before reaching the end of a terminating track at a station. The September 29, 2016, accident on the New Jersey Transit commuter railroad at Hoboken, New Jersey, killed one person, injured 100, and resulted in major damage to the passenger station. The January 4, 2017, accident on the Long Island Rail Road (a subsidiary of Metropolitan Transportation Authority) at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, New York, injured 108 people. As the NTSB investigations progressed, it became apparent that these accidents had almost identical probable causes and safety issues. The NTSB also realized that these safety issues were not unique to these two properties, but exist throughout the United States at many intercity passenger and commuter passenger train terminals. The NTSB is issuing two new safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration and two new safety recommendations to New Jersey Transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. In addition, the NTSB is reiterating two safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration.
TO THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: Include the Collision Hazard Analysis Guide for Commuter and Intercity Passenger Rail Service as part of the regulation or part of a detailed compliance manual to assist railroads in implementing Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 270.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Acceptable Response
Hoboken, NJ, United States
PRELIMINARY REPORT: RAILROAD DCA16MR011
Railroad Accident Brief: New Jersey Transit Train Strikes Wall in Hoboken Terminal
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FRA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
We are pleased that you are developing the recommended guidance language to support 49 CFR Part 270. Pending completion of these efforts and our review of the resulting document, Safety Recommendation R-18-2 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Ronald L. Batory, Administrator: The preamble to 49 CFR part 270 of the System Safety Program (SSP) regulation outlined FRA' s plan to publish a guidance manual that would assist in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a railroad's SSP. FRA believes sufficient guidance is currently available to railroads that would assist in implementing an SSP. However, FRA has developed additional materials that meet the intent of this recommendation. FRA has in draft form a guide for developing a system safety program plan for passenger railroads that would specifically reference the Collision Hazard Analysis Guide for Commuter and Intercity Passenger Rail Service (Collision Hazard Analysis Guide), which is available on FRA's website (www.fra.dot.gov). FRA anticipates issuing the guidance pending resolution of the current stay of the effective date of the part 270 rulemaking, which is in place until December 2018. The Collision Hazard Analysis Guide addresses the implementation of system safety hazard management principles and provides a step-by-step procedure on how to perform hazard analysis and how to develop effective mitigation strategies that will improve passenger rail safety. FRA will also work with each railroad and provide the necessary assistance and guidance for implementing their system safety programs. Therefore, FRA respectfully requests that the NTSB classify Safety Recommendation R-18-02 as "Open-Acceptable Action."
-From Karl Alexy, Director, Office of Safety Analysis: Thank you for the report, End-of-Track Collisions at Terminal Stations, Hoboken, New Jersey, September 29, 2016, and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, New York, January 4, 2017, which was sent to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on February 14, 2018. In the "Safety Recommendations" section of the report, the National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB) issued Safety Recommendations R-18-01 and R-18-02 to FRA, as well as reiterated Safety Recommendations R-12-16 and R-16-44 to FRA. Improving safety is FRA's top priority, and we will continue to work to make rail shipments as safe as possible. We are 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 February 6, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report End-of-Track Collisions at Terminal Stations, Hoboken, New Jersey, September 29, 2016, and Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, New York, January 4, 2017, SIR-18/01. The details of this special investigation report and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at http://www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations are two issued to the Federal Railroad Administration, which can be found on page 41 of the report. Also, two recommendations were reiterated in this report. The NTSB is vitally interested in these recommendations because they are 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 these recommendations. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendations by number. We encourage you to submit your response to email@example.com. If it exceeds 20 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.
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