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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-70-005
Details
Synopsis: THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD HAS BEEN CONDUCTING A INVESTIGATION OF THE ACCIDENT ON JUNE 21, 1970, IN WHICH 12 TANK CARS OF LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS WERE INVOLVED IN THE DERAILMENT OF ATOLEDO, PEORIA, AND WESTERN FREIGHT TRAIN AT CRESCENT CITY, ILLINOIS. IN THIS ACCIDENT, 10 OF THE CARS BURNED AND/OR EXPLODED, ROCKETED LONG DISTANCES, DESTROYED MUCH OF THE TOWN OF CRESCENT CITY, AND INJURED MORE THAN 65 PERSONS. THE SAFETY BOARD BELIEVES PROMPT CORRECTIVE ACTION IS REQUIRED TO REDUCE THE PROBABILITY OF SIMILAR CATASTROPHIC ACCIDENTS, AND TO MINIMIZE THE RESULTANT CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE.
Recommendation: TO THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS AND TO ALL RAILROADS: That the following interim and long range actions be considered: modification of dot specifications 112A and 114A for tank cars exceeding 25,000-gallon capacity so that they can safely carry liquefied flammable gases.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed--No Longer Applicable
Mode: Railroad
Location: Crescent City, IL, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79765
Accident Reports: Derailment of Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad Company's Train No. 20 with Resultant Fire and Tank Car Ruptures
Report #: RAR-72-02
Accident Date: 6/21/1970
Issue Date: 7/7/1970
Date Closed: 11/17/1975
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Ann Arbor Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Association of American Railroads (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railway (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Bangor and Aroostook Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Bellefonte Central Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Birmingham Southern Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Central Railroad Company of New Jersey (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Chattahoochee Valley Railway Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Chicago, West Pullman and Southern Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Erie Lackawanna Railway Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Florida East Coast Railway Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Genesee and Wyoming Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Illinois Terminal Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Meridian and Bigbee Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Mississippi Export Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Missouri Pacific Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Norfolk and Western Railway Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Penn Central Transportation Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Reader Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Reading Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Southern Pacific Transportation Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Southern Railway System (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Texas South-Eastern Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Vermont Railway, Inc. (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 8/4/1970
Response: AAR LTR: AAR ADOPTED 13 RECOMMENDATIONS MADE TO MEMBER RAILROADS FOR ACTION TO LESSEN THE DANGERS OF TRANSPORTING LIQUEFIED FLAMMABLE GASES BY RAIL. JULY - OCTOBER 1970: FORTY-FIVE REPLIES RECEIVED FROM RAILROAD PRESIDENTS. OF THIS NUMBER 11 PRESIDENTS OF SMALLER RAILROADS STATED THAT THEIR OPERATION IS SUCH THAT THEY WILL COMPLY WITH THE SPEED RESTRICTION. THE OTHERS STATED THEY WILL FOLLOW AAR RECOMMENDATIONS.

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 7/13/1970
Response: From Thomas M. Goodfellow, President: Copies of your letter of July 7 containing recommendations to the railroad industry in connection with the handling of liquefied flammable gases were distributed to members of the General Committee, Operating-Transportation Division, at its meeting on July 9. Very thorough consideration was given to your recommendations and to other suggestions proposed by members of the General Committee. In order to develop concrete proposals for practical action by the industry, the General Committee appointed a task force of four of its members to meet promptly and formulate a program within thirty days which can be recommended to the industry. A special meeting of the General Committee has been set for August 3 to consider and act on the task force recommendations.

From: Penn Central Transportation Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/21/1970
Response: From Paul A. Gorman, Chairman of the Board: This refers to your letter of July 7, concerning the National Transportation Safety Board report covering accident at Crescent City, Illinois and the movement of liquefied petroleum gas in tank cars. As you know, this entire matter was discussed at the meeting of the General Committee of the A.A.R. on July 9. As a result, a task force has been established to study the problems involved and come up with recommendations. The General Committee is holding a special meeting on July 23, 1970, to consider their report. Penn Central will, of course, be governed by the ultimate recommendations of the A.A.R. As far as interim procedures are concerned, Penn Central has gone to considerable expense in the installation of hot box detectors) broken flange detectors and various dragging equipment devices. Those alarm systems are strategically located so as to minimize the possibility of derailment caused by this type mechanical failure. It is and has been the Penn Central's policy to employ the most modern of detection methods to minimize the extent of derailments from causes similar to that at Crescent City. It has been determined that this is the most positive, practical control method available.

From: Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 8/10/1970
Response: From W. Thomas Rice, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: I have delayed replying to your letter of July 7 regarding the transportation of liquefied -petroleum gas on the American railroads as I recognized this to be an industry problem and should be approached as such. I am sure by now you have been notified by the Association of American Railroads of the action taken at its last Board meeting, at which time specific affirmative actions to be taken by the industry were approved. This is to confirm this action insofar as the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad is concerned, to the extent that we are moving forward with all possible speed to implement all of the recommendations of the Operating Transportation Committee of the AAR. You can rest assured that we are very conscious of the problem involved and will give it -first priority in carrying forward the program as outlined.

From: Florida East Coast Railway Company
To: NTSB
Date: 8/12/1970
Response: From the President of the Florida East Coast Railway Company: Reference is made to your letter of July 7th concerning the problems with which the railroad industry is faced in the handling of tank cars approved under DOT Specifications 112A and 114A for the transport of liquefied flammable gas. We all recognize that this critical problem is industry wide and we are certainly willing to participate with the other railroads in trying to meet it. I have, therefore, waited to respond to you until the O-T Division General Committee of the AAR concluded their study of the matter, which I feel will produce good results. You have asked that the individual railroads indicate the steps they have taken to combat the situation. The FEC, having recognized this problem for some time, has installed detective devices along our railroad to pinpoint cars developing mechanical difficulties en route. We have detectors over our system at 20-mile intervals which record cars in the chief dispatcher's office having hot boxes and dragging equipment. We also have detectors at many of these locations that indicate loose heels and shifted loads. In addition to the above, all cars delivered to the FEC from connections at Jacksonville are checked for broken flanges by means of automatic detecting devices. For your information, I am enclosing a copy of our latest Annual Report, the cover of which is a photograph of one of the locations where we have this equipment. Special emphasis has been placed upon a strong track structure and we now have in operation 108 miles of concrete cross ties with welded rail which we feel provides the very strongest track available. We have given similar attention to our bridges and at present all open deck structures between Jacksonville and Miami have steel stringers and steel caps, thus eliminating timber in these areas. Being cognizant of the hazards in handling traffic in cars of this design, we are giving them very careful inspection at terminals. Also we are separating them by cars containing non-combustible commodities wherever this can be done without violating the existing rules and regulations with respect to spacing of cars away from the engine and caboose. As still another protective measure, our train crews and other railroad personnel such as roadway crews have been instructed to closely scrutinize trains as they meet or pass them en route, and any potential difficulty is reported immediately.

From: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/10/1970
Response: From John S. Reed, President: This will acknowledge your letter elf July 7th concerning the investigation made by the National Transportation Safety Board of the accident at Crescent City, Illinois, on June 21st. I am of course familiar with this accident and the other somewhat simi1ar ones that have occurred on other railroads involving shipments of liquefied petroleum gas. There is no question in the minds of anyone as to the seriousness of these accidents, and the need for preventing them and minimizing the damage that can occur from a derailment involving hazardous materials. Over the years we have spent great sums of money on the Santa Fe for various types of equipment and safety devices to improve the safety of operations and we are continuing these efforts. My offhand reaction to the five numbered suggestions on page 4 of your letter is that two or three of them are impractical and would not represent a step in the right direction for a true solution of the problem. However, our Operating Vice President is serving on the General Committee of the Operating-Transportation Division of the A.A.R. that is currently studying this whole question, and we will of course have a much more definitive recommendation for you in the near future.

From: Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 8/14/1970
Response: From G.P. Brook, President: This is in response to your letter regarding the National Transportation Safety Board IS investigation of the derailment at Crescent City, Ill., and also a review of the derailment that occurred at Laurel, Miss., both derailments having movements of LPG gas in cars being derailed. We recognize the nature of the problem you have recited in your letter, and we have made it a continuing, active, and live subject throughout our operating department. We have a representative on the General Committee of the Operating-Transportation Division• of the Association of American Railroads, and as you know, they are greatly concerned about this problem and are actively considering the matter. In addition, we have appointed a graduate chemical engineer as Superintendent-Chemical Transportation who is daily involved in the movement of trans, chemicals, etc. Our local division officers are visiting all the fire departments along our line, informing them of the problems involved in the handling of various chemicals and leaving with them the National Safety Council IS Chemical Safety Slide Rule and other literature. Be assured that this subject will be continually made a daily live subject throughout our operating divisions.

From: NTSB
To: Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad Company
Date: 8/17/1970
Response: From Stuart Shumate, President: This refers to your letter of July 7, 1970 concerning recent freight train derailments involving liquefied petroleum gas and the hazardous commodities problem in general. We certainly share your concern for the problem and have looked forward to receiving the report of the General Committee of the Operating Transportation Division of the Association of American Railroads following their consideration of the subject. You are, of course, familiar with the General Committee report and recommendations which have since been approved and adopted by the AAR Board. The AAR recommendations are currently being reviewed by all RF&P departments which are affected and from this we shall develop our own positive response, endeavoring to be as consistent with the AAR recommendations as possible.

From: NTSB
To: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company
Date: 8/21/1970
Response: From Gregory S. Devine, President: In my letter of July 20 I mentioned to you that the General Committee of the Association of American Railroads was reviewing the problem relating to rail transportation of hazardous commodities. In case you have not seen it, attached is a copy of the report of the General Committee covering affirmative action to be taken by the industry, Insofar as C&O and B&O are concerned, we will follow the recommendations contained in this report. Our field forces have been advised to implement those items which require immediate action. They are also to adopt the standards of the minimum track inspection made a part of these recommendations.

From: Meridian and Bigbee Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 8/17/1970
Response: From Marvin Dandy, Vice President of Operations: Referring to your letter of July 7, 1970 to Mr. W. M. Shoemaker, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Meridian & Bigbee Railroad, concerning transportation of liquefied petroleum gas and other dangerous commodities. Transportation of these dangerous commodities is of very serious; concern to us. Our Railroad- is only fifty one miles long and does not run through towns of any size after it leaves our terminal in Meridian, Mississippi. It runs through the least populated area of Meridian. Our train speeds do not exceed twenty miles per hour anywhere in the city limits of Meridian. We spend about $5,000 per mile maintenance each year and have completely relaid our railroad over the past 12 years with larger rail. Our last derailment was in April of 1965. Inspectors check all cars carefully before we accept them and we try to handle them as carefully as possible while switching. A copy of the Chemical Transportation Safety Index was furnished to our local Fire Department by the railroad and other information that might be available concerning these dangerous commodities. If you have any information that might be helpful to us, we would appreciate having it. We also have Radio Communications on our line and can be notified in minutes of any trouble of a serious nature.

From: Vermont Railway, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 8/17/1970
Response: From Jay L. Wulfson, President: We are in receipt of your letter voicing concern for the safety of dangerous shipments. This matter is of concern to us here on the Vermont Railway, specifically referring to President Goodfellow's letter and the recommendations of the General Committee. Operating-Transportation Division. A.A.R. recommending affirmative action. We have noted the recommendations. Even though we are a Class C line, so far as the track inspection standards are concerned, our track is inspected visually the same as recommended for Class A lines.

From: Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company
To: NTSB
Date: 8/21/1970
Response: From Gregory S. Devine, President: In my letter of July 20 I mentioned to you that the General Committee of the Association of American Railroads was reviewing the problem relating to rail transportation of hazardous commodities. In case you have not seen it, attached is a copy of the report of the General Committee covering affirmative action to be taken by the industry, Insofar as C&O and B&O are concerned, we will follow the recommendations contained in this report. Our field forces have been advised to implement those items which require immediate action. They are also to adopt the standards of the minimum track inspection made a part of these recommendations.

From: Mississippi Export Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 9/10/1970
Response: - From the Vice President and General Manager of the Mississippi Export Railroad Company: I appreciate your writing to me concerning the safe handling of dangerous and hazardous commodities by rail. We, on the Mississippi Export Railroad, do not at this time handle liqufied petroleum gas, but we do handle tank car loads of chemical which require placards. As the Mississippi Export Railroad is only 42 miles long, connecting with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad at Pascagoula and with the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad at Evanston, Mississippi, road speed is not critical, and our road trains are restricted by time table instructions to 25 m.p.h. Our Maintenance of Way force consists of 2 section foremen, with gangs of 6 men each, supervised by a track supervisor and a chief engineer, who patrol the track by motor car at least once a week with additional inspections on foot being made frequently. In addition, the rail is tested for defects annually by a Sperry Rail Test Car. Attached is a copy of the information we have distributed for use in an emergency. This has been furnished to all railroad personnel concernined, and has also been distributed to each fire department in our area. It lists the commodity, the shipper and the characteristics of each commodity we handle which requires a placard.

From: Southern Railway System
To: NTSB
Date: 9/8/1970
Response: From W. Graham Clayton, Jr., President: My associates and I have carefully considered your letter of July 7, 1970, with respect to the problem of rail transportation of liquefied flammable gases. Furthermore, we have continued our own study of these problems and of possible solutions for them. The commendation in your letter of our "GO TEAMS" to combat hazardous materials accidents was most gratifying. These teams continue to advise local fire departments on the problems that exist in the transportation of hazardous materials, and I believe that by now such information has been disseminated over most of the Southern Railway System. As a part of the same endeavor, we have developed a detailed and extensive manual of informat.ion on how to deal with hazardous materials. This volume has been distributed throughout the System, and also made available to the appropriate Governmental authorities. The objectives stated in your letter for interim and long-range actions are well conceived, but their application to particular situations will be difficult. For example, one goal is appropriate control of the speeds of trains containing large tank cars loaded with liquefied flammable gas. As you know, Southern Railway limited speeds of trains carrying large blocks of such cars more than a year ago. We think it should be emphasized, however.

From: Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 9/3/1970
Response: From Fred W. Okie, President: Your letter of July 7 asking about the movement of liquefied petroleum gas over the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad. The Bessemer handles very few cars of liquefied gas. In fact, in 1969, we handled only two. We do handle anhydrous ammonia and a few other products which could be classed as dangerous. But all in all, they constitute a very small fraction of our total traffic. The maximum speed limit on the Bessemer is 45 miles an hour: We have hot box detectors. We regularly inspect our track and switches meeting the Pennsylvania state code in regard to track inspections and believe very little else can be done to improve. our safety records in this regard. We fully appreciate the importance and necessity of handling hazardous material safely. All of our operating personnel have been cautioned and we are optimistic that under our special conditions we will have no difficulty.

From: Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/10/1970
Response: From Charles L. Patterson, President: I have your letter of July 7, addressed to our Mr. Ralph Hudson, regarding derailment of a TP&W train at Crescent City, Illinois, on June 21. We are hopeful that the collective action anticipated from the July 9, 1970 Meeting of the General Committee of the O-T Division of A.A.R. will be forthcoming. We question the feasibility of items 1 and 2 of the recommendations for consideration. If a speed restriction of 15 miles per hour through towns was adopted as apparently was done by the Southern the overall effect would be to slow trains to the point where they would cease to be economical. Theoretically, TP&W running time would be increased by roughly 60%. To separate cars carrying flammable gases would spread the cars through the train almost assuring that in the event of derailment a car of this material would be involved. This would also have the affect of lengthening the area of hazard. I would appreciate your changing your mailing list so that I will receive similar information directly in the future.

From: Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 8/10/1970
Response: From Charles L. Towle, President: The Detroit, Toledo and Ironton and the Ann Arbor Railroads have analyzed shipments of flammable compressed gas moving over their lines in DOT 112A and 114A type tank cars. As shipments of propane on our lines are very few and irregular, this commodity is being embargoed when moving in DOT 112A and 114A type cars. There is a sizable tank car movement of propylene over the DT&I. These shipments will be handled as follows in road trains: a. Cars shall not be handled nearer than second car from both engine or occupied caboose. B. Speed of trains containing these cars must not exceed 15 mph through villages and towns. There are no other known movements of flammable compressed gases listed in 49 CFR 171-179 on DT&I-AA lines. Any possible future shipments will be cleared prior to movement so that handling established for propylene will be provided.

From: Ann Arbor Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 8/10/1970
Response: From Charles L. Towle, President: The Detroit, Toledo and Ironton and the Ann Arbor Railroads have analyzed shipments of flammable compressed gas moving over their lines in DOT 112A and 114A type tank cars. As shipments of propane on our lines are very few and irregular, this commodity is being embargoed when moving in DOT 112A and 114A type cars. There is a sizable tank car movement of propylene over the DT&I. These shipments will be handled as follows in road trains: a. Cars shall not be handled nearer than second car from both engine or occupied caboose. B. Speed of trains containing these cars must not exceed 15 mph through villages and towns. There are no other known movements of flammable compressed gases listed in 49 CFR 171-179 on DT&I-AA lines. Any possible future shipments will be cleared prior to movement so that handling established for propylene will be provided.

From: Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 8/8/1970
Response: From William M. Kendall, President: Reference your letter of July 7concerning the investigation conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board of the accident on June 21, 1970, involving liquefied petroleum gas on the Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad at Crescent City, Illinois. You specifically asked to be advised of the interim and permanent steps that have or will be taken by the individual railroads in this respect. On the L&N the number of liquefied petroleum gas cars moving together is limited to five and these blocks of five are separated from other liquefied petroleum gas loads by at least five cars. We feel that this procedure reduces; the chance of a major mishap such as occurred at Crescent City and would minimize the disastrous result should a derailment occur. We do not require special speed restrictions on trains handling liquefied petroleum gas, as a study of our major routes where the principal movements of LPG are handled indicate that adequate speed restrictions are already in effect through the populated communities. A program has been formulated and is being implemented similar to the Southern Railway's “GO TEAMS.” In the interim all line personnel have been instructed to immediately contact our Operations Control Center in Louisville, which is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for instructions in connection with derailments involving liquefied petroleum gas or other dangerous commodities. You may be assured that the L&N recognizes the critical nature of this problem and is dedicated to the handling of such commodities safely and efficiently.

From: Chicago, West Pullman and Southern Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/29/1970
Response: From J.E. Rice, President and General Manager: Thank you for your letter of July 7, 1970 regarding the transportation of liquefied flammable gases. It was most informative. You requested advice of any steps being taken by agencies and individual railroads to avoid to the greatest extent possible any potential catastrophe that could occur due to derailments or damage to equipment hauling dangerous commodities. Our line is a switching and terminal railroad operating within the City of Chicago. We seldom handle tank cars or other equipment loaded with dangerous commodities. Our instructions to operating crews and supervisors is to shove a tank car to rest in yards or industries with cars attached to avoid any possible rough handling. Further, if tank cars contain dangerous placards, sufficient cover of other cars must be used between locomotive and caboose when handling in yard or transfer service. Safe speeds must be maintained on our line when transporting dangerous commodities. Additionally, we have furnished local fire departments and plant safety departments, as well as our own people, with the “Chemica1 Transportation and Safety Index - Instructions and Specifications” prepared for the American Short Line Railroad Association (we are a member of that Association). This informative brochure is, I believe, most useful especially in case of fire or spill age of hazardous chemicals, and while we have not experienced any such occurrence in recent years. I believe it proper to have all concerned informed in advance of any possible eventualities. I would be glad to send you one of these brochures or if more convenient, our President, Mr. Howard Croft, American Short Line Railroad Association, 200 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20036, can probably have one delivered to your office, if you wish.

From: Atlanta and St. Andrews Bay Railway
To: NTSB
Date: 7/27/1970
Response: From A.V. Hooks, President: This will acknowledge your letter dated July 7, 1970, which was received July 13, 1970, relating to recent derailments involving liquefied petroleum gas. This railway is presently establishing procedures which are designed to: 1. Reduce hazards involved in handling cars containing dangerous materials. 2. Develop specific responsibilities and duties for operating personnel to follow that will provide prompt and effective protection to employees' and the public in the event of a derailment involving dangerous commodities. 3. Determine the availability and capabilities of local law enforcement units, fire fighting organizations, specialized Armed Force units, and medical• aid units. 4. Provide specific training to develop, ready personnel similar to Southern Railway's “Go Team.” Until equipment modification can be accomplished, we feel that these steps will be effective in protecting life and property.

From: Bellefonte Central Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/27/1970
Response: From G.F. McCellan, Executive Vice President: Acknowledging yours of July 7th citing the recent serious accidents involving the transportation of dangerous commodities, especially those moving in jumbo tank cars; we commend you on your intensive program to prevent these disastrous occurrences. The Bellefonte Central Railroad has not handled any jumbo tank cars, or any dangerous commodities in other type cars. The only tank cars we move are occasional eight thousand gallon cars of diesel fuel a distance of one mile from our interchange with the Penn Central to storage facilities at our shops. Our traffic consists of approximately 90% lime and limestone originating on line, and 10% building materials, paper, cement, etc. moving inbound in box or covered hopper cars.

From: Illinois Terminal Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/24/1970
Response: From E.B. Wilson, President: The Illinois Terminal shares your concern in the exposure to possible causalities and damage resulting from the handling of hazardous materials and in particular liquefied flammable gases. The recommendations on page 4 of your letter dated July 7th are certainly a step in the right direction and the Illinois Terminal will use all reasonable and practicable means of complying with these suggestions. As for your recommendation under sub-paragraph 1, I would like to advise that our company by special instruction contained in Time Table #1, effective February 1, 1970, provides that no train regardless of commodities handled will proceed through any community located on Illinois Terminal track in excess of 15 mph. With reference to recommendation 4, the Illinois Terminal, during the first week of June, 1970, distributed AAR Bureau of Explosives pamphlet No. 7-A to all police and fire departments of communities on our line as well as each of the county sheriffs’ offices. This pamphlet contains recommended good practices for handling fires or spills involving explosives and other dangerous articles. In addition to these efforts our Security and Special Services Department recently arranged with various community police departments, units of the state police, and county sheriff offices to inaugurate a program of reporting irregularities in train movements. Each of these agencies has been furnished with the telephone number of the nearest railroad installation having radio contact with our trains. If a police officer observes an irregularity such as a hot box or dragging equipment, he will radio his dispatcher who, in turn, will relay the message via telephone to the nearest railroad location where radio contact can be made with the train involved. This system has been tested with the result the average message can be relayed in approximately 1 minute. In addition authorization has been given to those various agencies for their officers to stop our trains if they observe anything unusual which in their opinion could affect the safe operation of the train. We will continue to explore and implement additional instructions effecting the safe operation of the our trains.

From: Texas South-Eastern Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/24/1970
Response: From George T. Honea, Vice-President: This is in reply to your letter of July 7, 1970 concerning our company policy of handling large tank cars on our railroad. At the present time we have movement of Methanol in 20, 000 gallon (and larger) tank cars. Our speed restriction for this equipment is fifteen miles per hour. We have ordered from The American Short Line Association a folder describing chemical moved by rail and various means of safety precautions in case of derailment, fire or leakage. We plan to present copy of this folder to our local fire department.

From: Reading Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/23/1970
Response: C.E. Bertrano, President and Chief Executive Officer: I have received and reviewed your letter July 7, 1970, concerning the accident recently investigated by the Board in which 12 tank cars of Liquefied Petroleum Gas were involved in a derailment at Crescent City, Illinois, as well as several other similar accidents during the past year. We understand and share your concern for the potential serious results of train accidents involving tank cars carrying liquefied flammable gases. During the year 1969, Heading Company handled approximately 3,800 tank cars of L.P.G. without incident, of which approximately two-thirds were handled to or from connections, the balance being handled locally between points on line. A detailed analysis of these movements reveals that, for the most part, this traffic moves over most all of our routes in various scheduled and extra freight trains, resulting in a relatively scattered or random pattern of movement whereby large blocks of perhaps 6 to 10 or more such cars seldom travel together. As a result, the potential for massive disaster involving .great numbers of L.P.G. cars is most likely considerably less on our property than is the case of certain other carriers throughout the country. As you have cited in your letter, the Association of American Railroads and other interested organizations are studying this entire problem for longer-range improvement, but, in terms of the specific interim recommendations in your subject letter we are taking the following action: 1. We consider any size tank car carrying L.P.G. products to be subject to certain additional precautions, and are studying the feasibility of separating such cars in trains as indicated in item 2 of your letter. 5-car separations would appear to be practicable and sufficient. While we are able to control this on our own lines at major classification yards, it will also require the cooperation of various connecting carriers handling these cars to us in interline freight train service. 2. We are agreeable to taking steps as may be required to advise local fire-fighters of the hazards involved when combating fires of burning tank cars containing liquefied flammable gases, as well as the possible need for evacuation of persons from the immediate area, and are studying the simplest and most expedient manner in which this might be handled. As information to you, Reading Company has, through the years, taken similar actions to inform our shippers and receivers, as well as the general public, of the nature and handling of highly dangerous articles by rail. As a specific example, within the recent past, information was distributed in poster form to various municipalities along our line concerning the handling of Hydrocyanic Acid in tank cars. You have my personal assurance that Reading Company will cooperate to the fullest extent of its capabilities in minimizing the hazards involved in the handling of tank cars containing liquefied flammable gases.

From: Missouri Pacific Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/22/1970
Response: From D.B. Jenks, President: Reference your letter of July 7 concerning your inquiry as a result of an investigation of the accident on June 21, 1970, in which twelve tank cars of LPG were involved in the derailment of a TP&W freight train at Crescent City, Illinois. I will comment on your five recommendations to the AAR and to individual roads: 1. We have never considered speed in itself as the cause for the various accidents which resulted in national publicity such as the Laurel incident. Such recommendations will cause congestion on line of road, and exposure to potential accidents will be greater. The 15 MPH speed limit is within the harmonic or critical range for some type ears, and of course, this would result in additional derailments and would create hazardous train movements as a result of severe slack action at such a, slow speed. This, in turn, would cause personal injury and possibly result in cars jumping the track. 15 MPH in cities will congest traffic and will create more accidents of people running into sides of trains as well as vandalism, etc. Limiting the capacity of tank cars has very little, if anything, to do with the disastrous effects of an explosion. Explosive experts have convinced me that doubling or tripling the size of a charge does not double or triple its effects as evidenced by long standing instructions on storing such explosives and how far storage stock should be separated from inhabited areas. If the size of tank cars is limited then we are creating additional hazards by more wheels, trucks, etc. 2. Effective January 1, 1970, the AAR made type-F interlocking couplers mandatory on all new tank cars built after that date. Use of buffer cars per your recommendation would nullify the effectiveness of the “F” coupler on the new tank cars. We would not be alleviating the hazard of punctured tank shells during a general derailment. 3. LPG products must be transported and because of the large numbers of shipments, the chances for accidents would be much higher by using smaller capacity cars. It is our opinion the most economical way, and the safest, is to ship this type commodity in the largest four-axle car weighing 263,000 pounds gross, and where railroad track is adequate, to go to a 315,000 pound car. 4. We concur in your recommendation, and such an educational program is not only desirable, but must be carried out. 5. Modification of DOT specifications 112-A and l14-A is now being studied by the joint AAR-RPI Tank Car Committee. Our railroad is represented on the Operating General Committee, and it is my understanding this group of operating officers will come up with recommendations that will assist in resolving some of the problems that the railroads have encountered in handling flammable compressed gas. Their recommendations will undoubtedly be furnished to you by the AAR.

From: Southern Pacific Transportation Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/22/1970
Response: From B.F. Maggini, President: Thank you for your letter of July 7th concerning the several accidents involving tank cars loaded with liquefied flammable gas, etc. I have followed the incidents mentioned closely and, as any railroad man must, deplore the fact that derailments occur at all, and more particularly that such as these cited had such serious consequences. I would say, also, that we are closely associated with efforts of the rail industry to put together an affirmative program to ameliorate the situation. In this connection, our assistant chief mechanical officer-engineering Mr. P.V. Garin, is a member of the AAR Research Consulting Committee considering the problem. Your understanding is correct that a special Subcommittee of the AAR General Committee, Operating Transportation Division, has been assigned to suggest a positive program for the industry. The Subcommittee has not and the General Committee will receive on July 23rd for review of the Subcommittee’s recommendations. We would expect that following this consideration by the General Committee and appropriate industry response can be made. Southern Pacific expects, of course, to follow any recommendations made in addition to continuing its own already rather extensive program. I wish, too, to express my appreciation for the opportunity afforded Mr. Spence to discuss this matter with you recently.

From: Erie Lackawanna Railway Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/20/1970
Response: From G.W. Maxwell, President: I have your letter of July 7, 1970, expressing concern regarding the accident which took place at Crescent City, Illinois, June 21, 1970, involving liquefied petroleum gas moving in tank cars. The correction of this problem is by no means a simple one and I have discussed with our representative the results of the meeting held by the Operating--Transportation Division, General Committee of the A.A.R. which was held on July 7, 1970. It is my understanding that a task force of four men was set up to make recommendations to a special meeting of the General Committee which will be convened on July 23, 1970, to review the recommendations and take necessary action. I would say that we are even more concerned than you as to the problem as we are the people that are directly involved in the movement and the provision of necessary safety precautions. I will be in further touch with you after the meeting to be held this month.

From: Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/20/1970
Response: From Jervis Langdon, Jr., Chairman and President: This will acknowledge your letter of July 7, 1970, in which you comment on the problems arising out of the derailment of certain types of railroad tank cars containing liquefied flammable gas. We will, of course, be guided in this matter by the recommendations of the General Committee of the Operating-Transportation Division, AAR, and, in addition, I am referring your letter and recommendations to our vice president operations and maintenance so that he can institute such actions on our own railroad as he may deem appropriate. In respect of your recommendation 4, the Rock Island has been working with local fire department with copies of the excellent Chemical Transportation Safety Index developed and produced by the Railway Systems and Management Association. I might add that, based on the responses we have received, many of the local fire chiefs feel the Safety Index will be a very valuable tool when they are called on to cope with accidents involving chemicals. In addition, we have distributed 1,000 of the Safety Indexes to train crew conductors and other operating department personnel who might have a need for such safety information, and our traffic department has distributed a substantial number of indexes to shippers of chemical commodities.

From: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/17/1970
Response: From C.E. Crippen, President: In response to your letter of July 7, 1970 relating to rail transportation of hazardous commodities, primarily liquefied petroleum gas, I can advise you that on the Milwaukee Railroad we have me.de a wide distribution to all parties of interest the Bureau of Explosives pamphlet 7-A of March 1970 entitled, DANGEROUS ARTICLES--EMERGENCY GUIDE. Our operations are being governed strictly in accordance with these regulations and all personnel are alerted to the importance of full compliance. As you are aware, the General Committee of the Operating Transportation Division of the Association of American Railroads is giving this matter intense study and it is expected that guidelines will be developed for appropriate precautionary measures in handling hazardous commodities. When such guidelines have been developed, we will on the Milwaukee Railroad accommodate our operations to such guidelines.

From: Genesee and Wyoming Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/16/1970
Response: From John N. Kiefer, Jr. Vice President, General Manager, and Assistant Secretary: This will acknowledge your letter of July 7, 1970, concerning the handling of liquefied petroleum gas and other volatile commodities in tank cars, particularly cars with a capacity exceeding twenty-five thousand (25,000) gallons. The Genesee and Wyoming Railroad Company is reviewing this matter with its Safety Committee and company officials in the Operating, Maintenance of Way, and Maintenance of Equipment Departments to properly answer your inquiry and recommendations. We will therefore be in touch with you in the near future.

From: St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/15/1970
Response: From R.C. Grayson, President: This refers to your letter of July 7 concerning the handling of liquefied petroleum gas and other hazardous commodities in tank cars. We have, for many years, handled a substantial volume of LPG on our railroad. We also move many other commodities that are classified as hazardous. We have given special training to our officers in the Safety, Transportation and Mechanical Departments on the handling of these commodities and, in addition, have given material and instruction to fire department personnel in many of the communities we serve. Also our transportation center at Springfield, Missouri, has special reference material that is immediately available if we have a derailment involving any of these commodities. In some cases we place restrictions on trains handling hazardous commodities, and in all cases enforce compliance of all regulations and directives that have been issued that govern these movements. We are keeping in touch with the study being made by the General Committee of The Operating-Transportation Division of the AAR on this subject. In the meantime, we will continue our own studies of the problems involved and will use our best efforts and judgment in handling these cars in a safe and efficient manner.

From: Chattahoochee Valley Railway Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/15/1970
Response: From Gordon W. Neal, President-General Manager: This is in reply to your letter of July 7, 1970, describing recent derailments of cars containing liquefied petroleum gas and/or other liquefied flammable gasses and requesting what interim and permanent steps individual railroads propose to take in connection with handling these cars. As for Chattahoochee Valley Railway, we are not handling these commodities at the present time but have transported them in the past and will no doubt move them again in the future. We shall put the interim and long range actions proposed by the National Transportation Safety Board and outlined in your letter on page 4 into effect. Actually the speed of our train over the entire railroad will not exceed 15 mph when handling such commodities. We would have very little control over recommendations 3 and 5, but can assure you and the Association of American Railroads that we will abide by these and other requirements that will reduce the probability of such catastrophic accidents.

From: Birmingham Southern Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/15/1970
Response: From Claud D. Cotton, Jr., President: This will acknowledge receipt of your letter to me of July 7th, with reference to the Board's recommendations regarding the handling of DOT Specifications 112A and 114A tank cars exceeding 25,000 gallons capacity. Although we do not handle cars loaded with L.P.G., we have instructed our transportation supervisory people as to the necessity of complying with the Board’s recommendations with reference to speed and separation of cars in trains. Normally, most of our tank car traffic consists of naptha, coal tar, pitch, sulphuric acid, benzol, electrode binder and industrial solvents. The only liquid gas handled is liquefied oxygen which is not under pressure and not inflammable. The only 25,000 gallon, or larger, tanks handled are loaded with tar pitch. The possibility always exists, however, that we might at some time in the future receive a DOT ll2A and 114A tank car loaded with liquefied inflammable gas; therefore, we think it prudent to take every precaution. Regarding advice to local fire fighters, we have had no experience with L.P.G. fires and are not qualified to attempt to instruct them in detail. We purchased, in May of this year, and distributed to the City of Fairfield Fire Department and United States Steel Corporation's plant fire department, as well as our top operating people, copies of the Chemical Transportation Safety Index put out by The American Short Line Railroad Association, which gives complete instructions regarding steps to take in event of ruptures of tank cars loaded with various types of chemicals. We will continue to do everything we can to handle these cars with care and will gladly assist the Board and the Central Committee of the Operating Transportation Division of the Association of American Railroads in whatever manner called upon.

From: Bangor and Aroostook Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/14/1970
Response: From W. Jerome Strout, President: I have your letter of July 7 in respect to tank cars carrying liquefied petroleum gas and, in respect to Items 1 through 5 as tabulated on Page 4, I have the following comments. In general, we move not over 200 carloads per year of LP gas at the -present traffic level of which, during the past twelve months, some 175 were of 25, 000 gallon capacity and the type of car your letter described. (1) We would have no objection to limiting the speed to 15 m.p.h. through towns, as suggested, and will put this into operation immediately. (2) We will proceed immediately to separate these cars, as suggested, unless it is impossible to do so on account of train consist. (3) On this Railroad we have no control over the use of this type of car, as they come to us loaded. (4) During 1969 we made a special effort on this Railroad to advise all local fire departments in respect to hazards, as suggested. This has been completed. (5) We have no control on the modification or specifications. We will proceed as above and await with interest any stipulations proposed to be taken by the AAR and other responding railroads and, if we make any changes other than above, we will so advise you.

From: Norfolk and Western Railway Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/11/1970
Response: John P. Fishwick, President and Chief Executive Officer: Replying to your letter of July 7, I am advised by N&W Vice President-Operations Richard F. Dunlap, who is a member of the General Committee, O-T Division, of the Association of American Railroads, that the matter you refer to was actively discussed at the General Committee meeting in Chicago this past Thursday, July 9, and that a four-man committee, composed of General Committee members, has been established to come up with recommendation which will be presented to a special meeting of the full General Committee, AAR, on August 3, after which time definite recommendations will be adopted.

From: Central Railroad Company of New Jersey
To: NTSB
Date: 7/13/1970
Response: From John E. Farrell, Trustee: Thank you for your letter of July 7th outlining facts developed by the Safety Board in its investigation of the catastrophes resulting from the derailments of tank cars carrying liquefied petroleum gas at Crescent City, Illinois, and Laurel, Miss. The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey handles liquefied petroleum gas, vinyl chloride and other commodities in tank cars of Department of Transportation Specifications 112-A and 114-A, although not in as large quantities as other railroads. We are guided by, and conform to, the regulations under 49 CFR 171-179; nevertheless, we do issue certain local instructions with regard to speed of movement and switching instructions as an added precaution. I feel that the action taken by the Southern Railway Company in creating expert teams for the purpose of informing the community fire departments along their system, as well as their own personnel, of the problems involved to combat hazardous materials accidents is excellent. While we are a small company, with limited resources, we plan to follow a similar procedure when practicable. We look forward to the report of the General Operating Committee of the AAR on the five recommendations which you made. In the meantime, we shall have our own local discussions with operating personnel to find where and how we can improve on our particular handling.

From: Reader Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/14/1970
Response: From T.W.M. Long, President and General Manager: I read with great interest yours of July 7 relative to the problems that take place when tank cars are detailed, particularly tank cars without center sills. Please be advised that this line has never transported any liquefied petroleum gas, but in the event we ever do and have more than one carload of LPG in any one train, such cars would certainly be separated in train in order to lessen the possibility of a large casualty in the event of a derailment, as set forth in recommendation two on page four of your letter.