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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-18-015
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 ALL CLASS I RAILROADS: Implement a process to make information about incidents of vehicle groundings at grade crossings that did not result in a crash on your railroad available to the appropriate state departments of transportation.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable 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: BNSF Railway Company (formerly Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company) (Open - Initial Response Received)
Canadian National Railway (Open - Acceptable Response)
Canadian Pacific Railway (Open - Await Response)
CSX Transportation, Inc. (Open - Acceptable Response)
Kansas City Southern Railway Company (Open - Acceptable Response)
Norfolk Southern Corporation (Open - Acceptable Response)
Union Pacific (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: BNSF Railway Company (formerly Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company)
To: NTSB
Date: 11/28/2018
Response: -Mark A. Schulze, Vice President, Safety, Training and Operations Support: Importantly, as detailed in the NTSB accident report, "Local municipalities are critical sources of information on the safety of individual grade crossing, including the incidence of vehicle groundings and secondary measures of risk, such as the crossing's slope and average annual daily traffic of commercial vehicles." While railroad data of events noted above might not be complete due to lack of notification to the railroad, there are certain "incidents of vehicle groundings at grade crossings that did not result in a crash" on BNSF that are captured through BNSF's Resource Operations Call Center (ROCC) and, additionally, are included in the BNSF Service Interruption Desk (SID) process. As requested in the NTSB recommendation R-18-15, BNSF will utilize that process to make that information "available to the appropriate state departments of transportation." Based on this information, BNSF respectfully requests that NTSB close Recommendation R-18-15 as "Closed: Acceptable Action". In closing, BNSF appreciates the NTSB's continued focus on rail safety issues and shares the goal of maintaining the highest level of safety across our rail network. BNSF appreciates the opportunity to respond to each of these recommendations, and will continue to work diligently with the NTSB and its staff on these recommendations. Please let me know of any questions or concerns you might have.

From: NTSB
To: BNSF Railway Company (formerly Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company)
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 are two new recommendations issued to the BNSF Railway Company (and the other Class I railroads), which can be found on page 52 of the 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 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: Canadian National Railway
Date: 6/10/2019
Response: We are aware that not all vehicle groundings are reported to CN, particularly those that do not result in a crash (although some such groundings are reported). Although you have a process in place that allows you to provide information to local policing authorities, we would like you to report all vehicle grounding incidents to local and state roadway authorities. Please reconsider your policy regarding vehicle groundings and require that they are reported on a regular basis (for example, quarterly) to local and state departments of transportation. Pending that action, Safety Recommendation R 18 15 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Canadian National Railway
To: NTSB
Date: 11/28/2018
Response: -From Jean-Jacques Ruest, President and Chief Executive Officer: Following receipt of your August 28, 2018, email, CN reviewed reports it received over the past two years of vehicles being "stuck" on a highway grade crossing over CN tracks and also visually inspected those and its other grade crossings for indications that vehicles had become grounded on the tracks. CN then assessed whether crossings at which vehicles reportedly were stuck or apparently had grounded have approach gradients that may be considered high. For crossings determined to have that potential, CN is preparing to advise relevant road authorities of those findings. On a going-forward basis, CN has updated its call handling processes for responding to reports of vehicles stuck or grounded at railroad-highway grade crossings. CN is implementing a process for notifying authorities responsible for roads at grade crossings of instances of CN receiving communications about motor vehicles becoming stuck or grounded at grade crossings over CN tracks. CN also is investigating the feasibility of automating, in whole or in part, this communication process. In the interim, CN continues to notify local policing authorities, which then can communicate with other road authorities, as required, of instances in which vehicles are reported to be stuck on those grade crossings. CN takes its role in promoting grade crossing safety seriously, and is committed to continuing its ongoing efforts to collaborate and coordinate with relevant local and state authorities to enhance safety at railroad-highway grade crossings on its system.

From: NTSB
To: Canadian National Railway
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 are two new recommendations issued to the Canadian National Railway Company (and the other Class I railroads), which can be found on page 52 of the 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 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: Canadian Pacific Railway
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 are two new recommendations issued to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company (and the other Class I railroads), which can be found on page 52 of the 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 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: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 7/22/2019
Response: Although you have a process in place that allows you to provide information to local policing authorities, we would like you to report all vehicle grounding incidents to local and state roadway authorities. Please reconsider your policy regarding vehicle groundings and require that they are reported on a regular basis (for example, quarterly) to local and state departments of transportation. Pending that action, Safety Recommendation R 18 15 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 11/21/2018
Response: -From Brad Spencer, Director, Track Testing: CSXT' s Public Safety Coordination Center maintains records of reported instances where vehicles are stopped on CSXT tracks at grade crossings without a crash or collision. Upon request from a state transportation agency, CSXT is willing to periodically provide a list of those reported instances for a particular location or jurisdiction. Based on these actions, CSXT respectfully requests that the NTSB designate the status of R-18-15 as Closed-Acceptable Action.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
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 are two new recommendations issued to CSX Transportation, Inc. (and the other Class I railroads), which can be found on page 52 of the 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 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: Kansas City Southern Railway Company
Date: 5/29/2019
Response: We are aware that not all vehicle groundings are reported to KCSR, particularly those that do not result in a crash. Although you have a process in place that allows you to provide information to state departments of transportation upon request, we would like you to report all vehicle grounding incidents to local and state roadway authorities. Please reconsider your “upon request” policy regarding vehicle groundings, and instead require that they are reported on a regular basis (for example, quarterly) to local and state departments of transportation. Pending that action, Safety Recommendation R 18 15 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Kansas City Southern Railway Company
To: NTSB
Date: 11/20/2018
Response: -From Patrick J. Ottensmeyer, President and Chief Executive Officer: KCSR often is not notified of vehicle groundings at grade crossings, and only finds out after the fact. When KCSR is notified of a vehicle grounding at a crossing, KCSR's Critical Incident Desk (CJD), whose phone number is given on the Emergency Notification System sign at each crossing (see49 C.F.R. Part 234, Subpart E), ordinarily receives that notice. The CID normally retains records of such notifications for one year. If a state wishes to receive information that KCSR may have about vehicle groundings at KCSR at-grade crossings in that state, the state department of transportation may submit a request to KCSR's Vice President - Health, Safety & Environmental here at KCSR's headquarters. The Health, Safety and Environmental Department will gather the available information and make it available to the requesting state department of transportation.

From: NTSB
To: Kansas City Southern Railway Company
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 are two new recommendations issued to the Kansas City Southern Railroad Company (and the other Class I railroads), which can be found on page 52 of the 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 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: Norfolk Southern Corporation
Date: 4/5/2019
Response: We are aware that not all vehicle groundings are reported to NS, particularly those that do not result in a crash (although some such groundings are reported). We note that you have a process in place that allows you to provide information to state and local departments of transportation upon request; however, we would like you to report all vehicle grounding incidents to local and state roadway authorities. Please reconsider your “upon request” policy regarding vehicle groundings, and instead require that they are reported on a regular basis (for example, quarterly) to local and state departments of transportation. Pending that action, Safety Recommendation R 18 15 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Norfolk Southern Corporation
To: NTSB
Date: 10/17/2018
Response: -From Karin Stamy, General Solicitor: NS will provide available information about vehicle groundings to state departments of transportation upon request. However, not all groundings are reported to NS, particularly those that do not result in a crash. NS’s data on groundings is included with other data on motor vehicle incursions on track.

From: NTSB
To: Norfolk Southern Corporation
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 are two new recommendations issued to the Norfolk Southern Corporation (and the other Class I railroads), which can be found on page 52 of the 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 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: Union Pacific
Date: 5/29/2019
Response: We are aware that not all vehicle groundings are reported to UP, particularly those that do not result in a crash (although some such groundings are reported). Although you do have a process in place that allows you to provide information to state and local departments of transportation upon request, we would like you to report all vehicle grounding incidents to local and state roadway authorities. Please reconsider your “upon request” policy regarding vehicle groundings, and instead require that they are reported on a regular basis (for example, quarterly) to local and state departments of transportation. Pending that action, Safety Recommendation R 18 15 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Union Pacific
To: NTSB
Date: 9/13/2018
Response: -From Rodney N. Doerr, Vice President-Safety, Chief Safety Officer: Union Pacific collects data via our Response Management Communication Center (RMCC) regarding crossing accidents, incidents, rough crossings, vehicular groundings and vehicle accidents not involving trains, and uses this information to evaluate and mitigate risk throughout our system. This data may be made available upon request and with appropriate approval; however, Union Pacific almost never receives these “grounding requests” from road authorities. To the extent state agencies believe this information could be helpful, Union Pacific is prepared to work with State Highway Departments to provide these data as appropriate. Thank you for the opportunity to communicate with you regarding Union Pacific’s response to NTSB recommendations. We appreciate the dedication of your investigative professionals, their pursuit of meaningful recommendations, and their tireless commitment to safety. We look forward to working with you in the future. Should you have additional questions or need any assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.

From: NTSB
To: Union Pacific
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 are two new recommendations issued to the Union Pacific Railroad (and the other Class I railroads), which can be found on page 52 of the 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 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.