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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-69-009
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 9:30 P.M., JANUARY 1, 1968, PENNSYLVANIA WESTBOUND FREIGHT TRAIN PR-11A, CONSISTING OF 98 CARS AND A FIVE-UNIT DIESEL-ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE, WAS PASSING DUNREITH, INDIANA, AT 42 MILES PER HOUR WHEN THE TRAILING WHEELS OF THE 88TH CAR, AN EMPTY TANK CAR, AESX 850, DERAILED AT A BROKEN RAIL NEAR THE EASTERN EDGE OF THE TOWN. AT THE SAME TIME, EASTBOUND FREIGHT TRAIN SW-6, CONSISTING OF A FIVE-UNIT DIESEL-ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE AND 106 CARS, WAS MOVING EASTWARD AT 32 MILES PER HOUR ON THE ADJACENT TRACK.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, THROUGH ITS ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY, AND THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION, IN COOPERATION WITH THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS: STUDY THE PROBLEM OF PROPER MANAGEMENT OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS IN TRAIN ACCIDENTS AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION. THIS STUDY SHOULD INCLUDE THE MATTER OF WHETHER IT IS FEASIBLE TO PROVIDE VEHICLES THAT WILL RESIST MECHANICAL PUNCTURING, THE PROBLEM OF CONTROLLING THE FLOW OF FLAMMABLE AND POISONOUS LIQUIDS OUT OF PUNCTURES IN TANK CARS, AND WHETHER IT IS FEASIBLE AND PREFERABLE TO SEPARATE CARS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS WITH CARS OF INERT MATERIALS. THE PROBLEM OF ADEQUATE CAPACITY OF SAFETY VALVES SHOULD ALSO BE REVIEWED.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Dunreith, IN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79780
Accident Reports: ​Pennsylvania Railroad, Train PR-11A, Extra 2210 West and Train SW-6, Extra 2217 East, Derailment and Collision
Report #: RAR-68-03
Accident Date: 1/1/1968
Issue Date: 12/18/1968
Date Closed: 11/17/1975
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Association of American Railroads (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
DOT (Closed - Acceptable Action)
FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: DOT
Date: 11/20/1969
Response:

From: DOT
To: NTSB
Date: 2/6/1969
Response: 8/4/69 - FRA LTR: THE CONCEPT OF IMPROVING THE MANAGEMENT OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS IN TRAIN ACCIDENTS IS CONTINUALLY BEING REVIEWED BY BOTH THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION AND THE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS BOARD. IT APPEARS THAT THERE IS LITTLE THAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE TANK CAR TANKS SO THAT THEY WILL SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER RESIST MECHANICAL PUNCTURING. THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION BELIEVES THAT AN ECONOMIC ANSWER TO THIS PROBLEM LIES IN THE USE OF "INTERLOCKING COUPLERS." THERE IS NO KNOWN DEVICE OR DESIGN FEATURE WHICH IS ECONOMICALLY PRACTICAL, THAT COULD BE UTILIZED TO "CONTROL" THE FLOW OF FLAMMABLE AND POISONOUS LIQUIDS ESCAPING FROM PUNCTURES IN TANK CAR TANKS. A RESULT OF UTILIZING A PROCEDURE TO SEPARATE CARS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS WITH CARS OF INERT MATERIALS MIGHT WELL BE TO FORCE THE RAIL CARRIERS TO DISCONTINUE THE TRANSPORTATION OF EXPLOSIVES AND OTHER HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, OR MAKE THE COST OF RAIL TRANSPORTATION OF THESE ITEMS PROHIBITIVE. THE BOARD'S CONCERN WITH THE PROPER AND THE ADEQUATE CAPACITY OF SAFETY RELIEF VALVES IS UNDERGOING REVIEW BY OUR TECHNICAL PERSONNEL. 2/6/69 - DOT LTR: DOT ADVISED THAT RECOMMENDATIONS ARE BEING STUDIED BY FRA AND OFFICE OF THE ASST. SEC. FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY, PREPARATORY TO A DETAILED RESPONSE. 1/16/73 - AAR LTR: THE RPI-AAR RAILROAD TANK CAR SAFETY, RESEARCH AND TEST PROJECT IS RESPONSIVE TO THIS RECOMMENDATION. THIS STUDY HAS NOT DEALT WITH THE FEASIBILITY OF SEPARATING CARS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS FROM EACH OTHER BY THE INSERTION OF CARS WITH INERT MATERIALS, THIS BEING A RAILROAD OPERATING CONSIDERATION AND NOT ONE OF TANK CAR DESIGN. EVIDENCE TO DATE DOES NOT SUGGEST THAT UNDER-CAPACITY OF SAFETY VALVES HAS BEEN A PROBLEM.

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 1/16/1973
Response: 8/4/69 - FRA LTR: THE CONCEPT OF IMPROVING THE MANAGEMENT OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS IN TRAIN ACCIDENTS IS CONTINUALLY BEING REVIEWED BY BOTH THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION AND THE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS BOARD. IT APPEARS THAT THERE IS LITTLE THAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE TANK CAR TANKS SO THAT THEY WILL SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER RESIST MECHANICAL PUNCTURING. THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION BELIEVES THAT AN ECONOMIC ANSWER TO THIS PROBLEM LIES IN THE USE OF "INTERLOCKING COUPLERS." THERE IS NO KNOWN DEVICE OR DESIGN FEATURE WHICH IS ECONOMICALLY PRACTICAL, THAT COULD BE UTILIZED TO "CONTROL" THE FLOW OF FLAMMABLE AND POISONOUS LIQUIDS ESCAPING FROM PUNCTURES IN TANK CAR TANKS. A RESULT OF UTILIZING A PROCEDURE TO SEPARATE CARS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS WITH CARS OF INERT MATERIALS MIGHT WELL BE TO FORCE THE RAIL CARRIERS TO DISCONTINUE THE TRANSPORTATION OF EXPLOSIVES AND OTHER HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, OR MAKE THE COST OF RAIL TRANSPORTATION OF THESE ITEMS PROHIBITIVE. THE BOARD'S CONCERN WITH THE PROPER AND THE ADEQUATE CAPACITY OF SAFETY RELIEF VALVES IS UNDERGOING REVIEW BY OUR TECHNICAL PERSONNEL. 2/6/69 - DOT LTR: DOT ADVISED THAT RECOMMENDATIONS ARE BEING STUDIED BY FRA AND OFFICE OF THE ASST. SEC. FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY, PREPARATORY TO A DETAILED RESPONSE. 1/16/73 - AAR LTR: THE RPI-AAR RAILROAD TANK CAR SAFETY, RESEARCH AND TEST PROJECT IS RESPONSIVE TO THIS RECOMMENDATION. THIS STUDY HAS NOT DEALT WITH THE FEASIBILITY OF SEPARATING CARS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS FROM EACH OTHER BY THE INSERTION OF CARS WITH INERT MATERIALS, THIS BEING A RAILROAD OPERATING CONSIDERATION AND NOT ONE OF TANK CAR DESIGN. EVIDENCE TO DATE DOES NOT SUGGEST THAT UNDER-CAPACITY OF SAFETY VALVES HAS BEEN A PROBLEM.

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 11/20/1969
Response:

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 11/20/1969
Response:

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/4/1969
Response: 8/4/69 - FRA LTR: THE CONCEPT OF IMPROVING THE MANAGEMENT OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS IN TRAIN ACCIDENTS IS CONTINUALLY BEING REVIEWED BY BOTH THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION AND THE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS BOARD. IT APPEARS THAT THERE IS LITTLE THAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE TANK CAR TANKS SO THAT THEY WILL SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER RESIST MECHANICAL PUNCTURING. THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION BELIEVES THAT AN ECONOMIC ANSWER TO THIS PROBLEM LIES IN THE USE OF "INTERLOCKING COUPLERS." THERE IS NO KNOWN DEVICE OR DESIGN FEATURE WHICH IS ECONOMICALLY PRACTICAL, THAT COULD BE UTILIZED TO "CONTROL" THE FLOW OF FLAMMABLE AND POISONOUS LIQUIDS ESCAPING FROM PUNCTURES IN TANK CAR TANKS. A RESULT OF UTILIZING A PROCEDURE TO SEPARATE CARS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS WITH CARS OF INERT MATERIALS MIGHT WELL BE TO FORCE THE RAIL CARRIERS TO DISCONTINUE THE TRANSPORTATION OF EXPLOSIVES AND OTHER HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, OR MAKE THE COST OF RAIL TRANSPORTATION OF THESE ITEMS PROHIBITIVE. THE BOARD'S CONCERN WITH THE PROPER AND THE ADEQUATE CAPACITY OF SAFETY RELIEF VALVES IS UNDERGOING REVIEW BY OUR TECHNICAL PERSONNEL. 2/6/69 - DOT LTR: DOT ADVISED THAT RECOMMENDATIONS ARE BEING STUDIED BY FRA AND OFFICE OF THE ASST. SEC. FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY, PREPARATORY TO A DETAILED RESPONSE. 1/16/73 - AAR LTR: THE RPI-AAR RAILROAD TANK CAR SAFETY, RESEARCH AND TEST PROJECT IS RESPONSIVE TO THIS RECOMMENDATION. THIS STUDY HAS NOT DEALT WITH THE FEASIBILITY OF SEPARATING CARS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS FROM EACH OTHER BY THE INSERTION OF CARS WITH INERT MATERIALS, THIS BEING A RAILROAD OPERATING CONSIDERATION AND NOT ONE OF TANK CAR DESIGN. EVIDENCE TO DATE DOES NOT SUGGEST THAT UNDER-CAPACITY OF SAFETY VALVES HAS BEEN A PROBLEM.