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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-72-006
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, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE U.S. COAST GUARD: DEVELOP A DEFINITION FOR AN "EMPTY" TANK CAR FOR SAFETY REGULATIONS, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE POTENTIAL LOSSES ATTRIBUTABLE TO VARIOUS HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES REMAINING IN TANK CARS AFTER UNLOADING, AND INITIATE RULEMAKING ACTION TO INCORPORATE THIS DEFINITION AND SUCH RELATED REQUIREMENTS AS MAY BE FOUND NECESSARY INTO 49 CFR 170-179.
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: 11/17/1975
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/25/1972
Response: FRA LTR: FRA IS STUDYING POSSIBLE CHANGES IN REGULATIONS REGARDING PLACARDING AND DOCUMENTATION OF EMPTY CARS WHICH CONTAINED HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AS THEIR LAST LADING, BECAUSE THESE CARS USED EXCLUSIVELY IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF PROPANE AND SIMILAR GASEOUS HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AS THEIR LAST LADING, ARE NOT NORMALLY COMPLETELY EMPTIED OF THE LIQUIFIED PRODUCT. IT IS DESIRABLE TO RETAIN SUFFICIENT OF THE MATERIAL TO ASSURE VAPOR PRESSURIZING OF THE "EMPTY" TANK TO EXCLUDE FOREIGN CONTAMINANTS SUCH AS MOISTURE. ECONOMIC REGULATION (TARRIF REQUIREMENTS) RECOGNIZES THIS PRACTICE BY PERMITTING RESIDUAL CONTENT OF NOT TO EXCEED 3 PERCENT BY WEIGHT. 10/10/74 - FRA LTR: THE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS BOARD ISSUED DOCKET HM-103, DECEMBER 21, 1973, NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING FOR HAZARD INFORMATION SYSTEM. THIS DOCKET WOULD REQUIRE THAT EACH EMPTY TANK CAR BE PLACARDED WITH AN EMPTY PLACARD THAT CORRESPONDS TO THE PLACARD THAT WAS REQUIRED FOR THE MATERIAL THE TANK CAR LAST CONTAINED. THE CLOSING DATE FOR COMMENTS WAS MAY 28, 1974.