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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-18-028
Synopsis: On March 10, 2017, about 12:50 a.m., central standard time, eastbound Union Pacific Railroad (UP) unit ethanol train, UEGKOT-09, with 3 locomotives, 98 loaded tank cars, and 2 buffer cars filled with sand derailed near milepost (MP) 56.8 at a timber railroad bridge on the Estherville Subdivision, near Graettinger, Iowa.P0F P Twenty loaded tank cars in positions 21 through 40 derailed. Fourteen of the derailed tank cars released about 322,000 gallons of undenatured ethanol, fueling a postaccident fire. The accident occurred near Jack Creek, a tributary of the Des Moines River. There were no injuries and three nearby homes were evacuated. About 400 feet of railroad track and a 152-foot railroad bridge were destroyed in the accident. UP estimated damages at $4 million.P2F P At the time of the accident, the wind was from the northwest at 17 mph gusting to 30 mph, visibility was 10 miles, and the temperature was 10°F.
Recommendation: TO UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD: Reexamine your track maintenance and inspection program standards on all routes that carry high hazardous flammable materials and ensure those track inspection standards are complied with by both track inspectors and track supervisors.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Await Response
Mode: Railroad
Location: Graettinger, IA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: DCA17MR007
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report: Railroad DCA17MR007Derailment and Hazardous Materials Release of Union Pacific Railroad Unit Ethanol Train, Graettinger, Iowa, March 10, 2017
Report #: RAR-18-02
Accident Date: 3/10/2017
Issue Date: 11/27/2018
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Union Pacific (Open - Await Response)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Union Pacific
Date: 11/27/2018
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 October 30, 2018, the NTSB adopted its accident report, Derailment and Hazardous Materials Release of Union Pacific Railroad Unit Ethanol Train, Graettinger, Iowa, March 10, 2017, RAR 18/02. The details of this accident report and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the accident report, which can also be accessed at Among the safety recommendations is one issued to Union Pacific Railroad, which can be found on page 61 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 recommendations by number. We encourage you to submit your response to 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.