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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-72-004
Details
Synopsis: AT 8:50 P.M., OCTOBER 8, 1970, PENN CENTRAL TRANSPORTATION COM FREIGHT TRAIN DERAILED NEAR SOUND VIEW, CONNECTICUT. FREIGHT CARS OBSTRUCTED TRACK IN THE PATH OF PENN CENTRAL PASSENGER TRAIN. THE PASSENGER TRAIN STRUCK THE FREIGHT CARS, PUNCTURING AN LPG TANK CAR DESIGNATED AS "EMPTY." THE DERAILED UNITS OF THE PASSENGER TRAIN PASSED THROUGH IGNITED GASES FROM THE PUNCTURED TANK CAR AND CROSSED A RAILROAD BRIDGE. TRAIN CREWMEMBERS AND PASSENGERS WERE INJURED. THE SAFETY BOARD HAS DETERMINED THAT THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THE DERAILMENT OF THE FREIGHT TRAIN WAS THE BREAKAGE OF A TRUCK SIDE OF A CAR ON THE FREIGHT TRAIN WHICH FOLLOWED A PROGRESSIVE FATIGUE CRACK FAILURE. THE BREAKAGE OF THE TRUCK SIDE RESULTED IN DAMAGE TO A TURNOUT, WHICH CAUSED DERAILMENT OF THE FOLLOWING CARS. THE CAUSE OF THE COLLISION TO THE PASSENGER TRAIN WAS THE OBSTRUCTION OF TRACKNO. 2 BY CARS OF THE FREIGHT TRAIN. THE BOARD CONCLUDED INDUSTRY CONTROLS TO PREVENT APPLICATION OF IMPROPER CAR COMPONENTS ARE INADEQUATE, EMPTY TANK CARS MAY BE HAZARDOUS, AND SUGGESTED THAT THEINDUSTRY SHOULD INCORPORATE CRASHWORTHY CONCEPTS, IMPROVE COMMUNICATION AND EQUIPMENT DESIGN, AND CONTROLS OVER MAINTENANCE, RETIREMENT, AND TESTING OF EQUIPMENT COMPONENTS. THE BOARD REQUESTEDTHAT BRIDGE STANDARDS AND JOINT CORRIDOR USAGE BE REVIEWED.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: INCLUDE IN ITS RESEARCH THE DETERMINATION OF THE VALUE OF TRACK GUARDRAILS TO KEEP DERAILED EQUIPMENT IN LINE WITH THE TRACK, AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF SAFETY STANDARDS FOR RAILROAD AERIAL TRACK STRUCTURES.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Sound View, CT, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79990
Accident Reports: Penn Central Transportation Co. Freight Train Derailment, Passenger Train Collision with Hazardous Material Car
Report #: RAR-72-01
Accident Date: 10/8/1970
Issue Date: 12/22/1971
Date Closed: 10/5/1978
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Tank Car Loading and Unloading

Safety Recommendation History
From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/25/1972
Response: FRA RESPONDS AS FOLLOWS: FRA HAS ALSO FOUND THAT TRACK GUARD R MAY CAUSE "EXCURSION" OF DERAILED EQUIPMENT. THE LIMITED EFFECTIVENESS OF EXISTING GUARD RAILS WILL BE INVESTIGATED BY FRA TO DETERMINE ECONOMIC, DESIGN, INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE CRITERIAFOR GUARD RAILS. OCTOBER 10, 1974 FRA, THROUGH GEN'L. DAVIS RESPONDED, "FRA INVESTIGATION INTO FEASBILITY OF GUARD RAILS NOT COMPLETED.JANUARY 16, 1973 LETTER FROM AAR TRANSMITTING RAILROAD SAFETY RESEARCH STATUS REPORT TO THE SAFETY BOARD. THE AAR, THROUGH PREVIOUS RESEARCH, HAS DETERMINED THAT TRACK GUARD RAILS ARE NOT A SATISFACTORY APPROACH TOWARDS KEEPING DERAILED EQUIPMENT IN LINE. SAFETY STANDARDS FOR RAILROAD AERIAL TRACK STRUCTURES HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED BY THE AAR, AND THERE HAS BEEN AN EXTREMELY LOW FAILURE RATE OF BRIDGES AND OTHER AERIAL STRUCTURES AND THEIR ASSOCIATED COMPONENTS. RESPONSE DATED 7/14/78: FRA BELIEVES GUARDRAILS ARE NOT A MAJOR SAFETY FACTOR WITHIN THE RAIL INDUSTRY...THERE ARE NO STUDIES IN PROGRESS TO EVALUATE THE ABILITY OF GUARDRAILS TO KEEP DERAILED EQUIPMENT ALIGNED WITH TRACK..