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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-73-030
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 FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION AND THE URBAN MASS TRANSPORTATION ADMINISTRATION: COOPERATE IN SPONSORING AN INDEPENDENT STUDY TO JUSTIFY OR DISPROVE THE NEED FOR A REQUIREMENT THAT HIGH-SPEED COMMUTER TRAIN OPERATIONS BE GOVERNED BY SOME FORM OF AUTOMATIC TRAIN-CONTROL SYSTEM OR SOME SPECIAL PROCEDURES THAT WILL PREVENT A COLLISION OF TWO TRAINS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable 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: 7/29/1985
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 7/29/1985
Response: The Safety Board notes that neither the topic of Safety Recommendation R-73-30 nor the topic of Safety Recommendation R-76-24 was addressed in the FRA's 1984 Report to Congress. The Board is also aware that FRA has taken no action to implement these recommendations. While we continue to believe that implementation of these recommendations would enhance safety, we have no further supporting evidence to offer at this time; therefore, we have classified Safety Recommendations R-73-30 and R-76-24 as "Closed-Unacceptable Action." Even though we have closed these recommendations, we will continue to address these safety issues in future pertinent accident investigations.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/9/1984
Response: CURRENTLY, THE FRA HAS 16 OPEN NTSB RECOMMENDATIONS PERTAINING TO RAIL PASSENGER OPERATIONS. MOST ARE RELATED TO EQUIPMENT AND INCLUDE CRASHWORTHINESS, INTERIOR DESIGN, AND EMERGENCY PROCEDURES. MANY OF THESE RECOMMENDATIONS HAVE BEEN OPEN FOR YEARS, WITH THE OLDEST HAVING BEEN ISSUED IN 1971. I HAVE ENCLOSED A LIST OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THIS LETTER FOR YOUR USE. THE EXHAUSTIVE EFFORT AND ACTION INITIATIVES DESCRIBED BY THE PASSENGER EQUIPMENT SAFETY REPORT ARE RESPONSIVE TO THE ISSUES RAISED BY THE NTSB IN ITS 16 PASSENGER RECOMMENDATIONS. SINCE FRA HAS TAKEN ACTION ON ALL AREAS OF RAIL PASSENGER SAFETY, INCLUDING THE ITEMS RECOMMENDED BY NTSB, I AM HEREBY REQUESTING THAT YOU INITIATE ACTION TO HAVE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS CLOSED.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 5/2/1979
Response:

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/28/1978
Response: FRA LETTER: IN CONSIDERATION OF THE COURT RULING OF 12/16/77, AND THAT UMTA HAS TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE RAPID TRANSIT AREA, FRA WILL NOT PURSUE ITS ANPRM ON SIGNAL SYSTEMS ON COMMUTER RAILROAD AND RAPID TRANSIT LINES. 3/28/79 - FRA LTR IN RESPONSE TO NTSB 12/22/78 LTR: FRA DOES INTEND TO STUDY AND EVALUATE SIGNAL AND TRAIN CONTROL DEVICES IN THE OPERATION OF HIGH-SPEED COMMUTER AND PASSENGER TRAINS TO DETERMINE WHICH TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEM WILL BE MOST EFFECTIVE IN PREVENTION OF HIGH-SPEED COMMUTER TRAIN COLLISIONS. THE INFORMATION GATHERED FROM THE FRA SAFETY INQUIRY, 2/22-23/79, WILL BE USED TO UPDATE FRA REGULATIONS AND POLICY REGARDING SIGNALS AND TRAIN CONTROL.