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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-18-013
Details
Synopsis: On March 7, 2017, a 2016 Van Hool motorcoach, operated by ECHO Transportation and occupied by a driver and 49 passengers, was traveling northbound on Main Street in Biloxi, Mississippi. The motorcoach stopped in advance of a highway–railroad grade crossing on Main Street that had a high vertical profile. The crossing warning system was not in active mode when the motorcoach approached, stopped, and then moved onto the railroad tracks. As the driver attempted to drive over the crossing, the frame of the motorcoach came into contact with the pavement, and the vehicle became stuck on the crossing. An eastbound freight train operated by CSX Transportation was approaching the crossing. The grade crossing warning system activated when the train was about 29 seconds away. As soon as he became aware of the approaching train, the motorcoach driver opened the vehicle’s loading door and told the passengers to evacuate. The train engineer put the train into emergency about 502 feet west of the crossing. About 14 seconds later, the train struck the left side of the motorcoach, pushing it 259 feet down the tracks before coming to a stop, with the motorcoach still in contact with the lead locomotive. Four motorcoach passengers died, the driver and 37 passengers sustained injuries, and 8 passengers were uninjured. The investigation focused on the safety issues of high-profile grade crossings and emergency egress and extrication. As a result of this investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) makes new safety recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Mississippi Department of Transportation, City of Biloxi, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association, Association of American Railroads, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and Class I railroads. The NTSB reiterates and reclassifies one recommendation to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Recommendation: TO THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS AND AMERICAN SHORT LINE AND REGIONAL RAILROAD ASSOCIATION: Inform your members of the circumstances of the March 7, 2017, Biloxi, Mississippi, grade crossing crash, and emphasize the importance of communication with local and state highway transportation agencies regarding railroad maintenance activities and vehicle grounding incidents on grade crossings.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Await Response
Mode: Railroad
Location: Biloxi, MS, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY17MH010
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report: Highway HWY17MH010​Collision Between Freight Train and Charter Motorcoach at High-Profile Highway–Railroad Grade Crossing Biloxi, Mississippi March 7, 2017
Report #: HAR-18-01
Accident Date: 3/7/2017
Issue Date: 8/28/2018
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (Open - Await Response)
Association of American Railroads (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 3/18/2019
Response: We are pleased that you have notified the chief operating officers of your member railroads about this accident. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-18-13 is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 12/3/2018
Response: From Edward R. Hamberger, President and Chief Executive Officer: NTSB Recommendation R-18-013 provided that AAR should inform its members "of the circumstances of the March 7, 2017, Biloxi, Mississippi, grade crossing crash, and emphasize the importance of communication with local and state highway transportation agencies regarding railroad maintenance activities and vehicle grounding incidents on grade crossings." AAR has done so, directly communicating with railroad Chief Operating Officers as suggested by the recommendation. AAR described the circumstances, referenced NTSB' s summary of the accident and the full accident report, and relayed NTSB' s concern about the importance of communicating with highway transportation agencies on railroad maintenance activities at grade crossings and grounding incidents. Accordingly, AAR suggests that Recommendation R-18-013 be categorized "Closed - Acceptable Action."

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 8/28/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On August 7, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Collision Between Freight Train and Charter Motorcoach at High-Profile Highway–Railroad Grade Crossing, Biloxi, Mississippi, March 7, 2017, NTSB/HAR 18/01. The details of the investigation and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to the Association of American Railroads (and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association), which can be found on p. 52 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is 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 this recommendation. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 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.

From: NTSB
To: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
Date: 8/28/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On August 7, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Collision Between Freight Train and Charter Motorcoach at High-Profile Highway–Railroad Grade Crossing, Biloxi, Mississippi, March 7, 2017, NTSB/HAR 18/01. The details of the investigation and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (and the Association of American Railroads), which can be found on p. 52 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is 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 this recommendation. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 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.