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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-73-029
Details
Synopsis: THIS REPORT DESCRIBES AND ANALYZES THE COLLISION OF TWO ILLINO CENTRAL GULF RAILROAD COMMUTER TRAINS IN CHICAGO, ILL., ON THE MORNING OF OCTOBER 30, 1972. A TRAIN CONSISTING OF FOUR NEW HIGHLINER CARS OVERRAN A STATION STOP, ATTEMPTED TO BACK UP TO THE PLATFORM, AND WAS STRUCK FROM THE REAR BY ANOTHER TRAIN OPERATING ONTHE SAME TRACK. THE FIRST CAR OF THE FOLLOWING TRAIN OVERRODE THE UNDERFRAME OF THE LAST CAR OF THE LEAD TRAIN AND TELESCOPED THE CAR.THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD DETERMINES THAT THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THIS ACCIDENT WAS THE REVERSE MOVEMENT OF TRAIN 416 (THE LEAD TRAIN) WITHOUT FLAG PROTECTION INTO A PREVIOUSLY VACATED SIGNAL BLOCK AND THE FAILURE OF THE ENGINEER OF TRAIN 720 (THE FOLLOWING TRAIN), WHILE OPERATING FASTER THAN THE PRESCRIBED SPEED, TO PERCEIVE THE TRAIN AHEAD IN TIME TO AVOID THE COLLISION. AMBIGUOUS RULES WHICH CAUSED CONFUSION AMONG EMPLOYEES REGARDING THE NECESSITY TO FLAG WITHIN AUTOMATIC-BLOCK SIGNAL SYSTEM LIMITS AND THE REDUCED IMPORTANCE OF FLAGGING IN SUBURBAN SERVICE IMPLIED BY THE MANAGEMENT'S FAILURE TO ENFORCE RULES 7, 35, 99, 896, AND 1003 ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE ILLINOIS CENTRAL GULF RAILROAD: REVIEW ITS ORGANIZATION SYSTEMATICALLY TO ENSURE THAT SAFETY IS COVERED ADEQUATELY IN ALL INTERACTIONS OF EQUIPMENT, PERSONNEL, RULES, AND PROCEDURES. FOR EXAMPLE, THE HIGHLINER DESIGN DOES NOT ALLOW THE CONDUCTOR TO USE THE INTERCOM AND EMERGENCY BRAKE VALVE FROM THE REAR OF THE CAR, WHICH IS THE LOGICAL LOCATION FOR SUPERVISING A REVERSE MOVEMENT.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 80002
Accident Reports: Collision of Illinois Central Gulf Railroad Commuter Trains
Report #: RAR-73-05
Accident Date: 10/30/1972
Issue Date: 6/28/1973
Date Closed: 9/10/1976
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Illinois Central Railroad Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: Illinois Central Railroad Company
To: NTSB
Date: 8/26/1975
Response: LETTER, PRESIDENT, ILLINOIS CENTRAL GULF RAILROAD TO CHAIRMAN REVISED OPERATING RULES BOOK PLACED IN EFFECT ON JULY 1, 1974, CLASSES HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED FOR EMPLOYEES, AND EFFICIENCY TESTS HAVE BEEN REVISED. NEW RULE 99A NOW REQUIRES FLAG PROTECTION FOR ANY TRAIN STOPPED ON A MAIN TRACK EXCEPT INSIDE YARD LIMITS. HIGHLINER CARS ARE BEING MODIFIED SO THAT THERE ARE BRAKE VALVES ON BOTH ENDS AS WERE IN MIDDLE OF CAR. SEVENTY OF THE 129 CARS HAVE BEEN MODIFIED TO DATE.

From: NTSB
To: Illinois Central Railroad Company
Date: 6/12/1975
Response: The Safety Board has no record of a response from Illinois Central Gulf. We would appreciate it if you would advise the Board what action has been taken in the areas addressed by these two recommendations.