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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-75-003
Details
Synopsis: AT 4:57 A.M. ON JULY 5, 1974, AMTRAK TRAIN NO. 4-C WAS OPERATI THE TRACKS OF THE ATCHISON, TOPEKA, AND SANTA FE RAILWAY COMPANY JUST EAST OF MELVERN, KANSAS. AS THE TRAIN MOVED OVER A TURNOUT LEADING FROM THE SOUTH MAIN TRACK TO A SIDING LOCATED BETWEEN THE TWO MAIN TRACKS, THE REAR 13 CARS OF THE 18-CAR TRAIN DERAILED. THE REAR SIX CARS TURNED OVER, SLID DOWN AN EMBANKMENT, AND CAME TO A STOP ON THEIR SIDES. FIFTEEN EMPLOYEES AND 87 PASSENGERS WERE INJURED AS A RESULT OF THE ACCIDENT. ONE OF THE INJURED PASSENGERS DIED SEVERAL WEEKS LATER. THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD DETERMINES THAT THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT WAS THE BROKEN CLOSURE RAIL OF THE TURNOUT LEADING FROM THE SOUTH MAIN TRACK TO THESIDING. THE INSUFFICIENT STRENGTH OF THE TRACK BOLT AND THE APPARENTSTRESSED CONDITION OF THE RAIL CONTRIBUTED TO THE CAUSE OF THE BROKEN RAIL.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: PROMULGATE REGULATIONS TO REQUIRE THAT ALL PASSENGER CARRYING RAILCARS BE PROVIDED WITH EMERGENCY EXITS AND WITH EMERGENCY LIGHTS THAT WILL FUNCTION WHEN REGULAR POWER IS LOST.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Melvern, KS, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79997
Accident Reports: Derailment of an Amtrak Train on the Tracks of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company
Report #: RAR-75-01
Accident Date: 7/5/1974
Issue Date: 2/5/1975
Date Closed: 6/26/1986
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/5/1999
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/9/99 4:50:28 PM MC# 990872

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/26/1986
Response: THIS IS ACTUALLY A FOLLOWUP LETTER DATED 6/26/86 AND THE FOLLOWING IS A HISTORY OF PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE: THERE HAS NOT BEEN EXTENSIVE DOCUMENTED FOLLOWUP ON THESE TWO RECOMMENDATIONS. ASIDE FROM FRA'S INITIAL RESPONSES, PERTINENT CORRESPONDENCE INCLUDES FRA'S 4/9/84 LETTER AND THE BOARD'S FOLLOWUP LETTER OF 7/29/85. OTHER CORRESPON DENCE WHICH AIDED IN DETERMINING A PROPOSED STATUS IS DISCUSSED IN THE EVALUATION WHICH FOLLOWS.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 6/26/1986
Response: In our July 29, 1985, letter, the Safety Board indicated that we would continue to hold these Safety Recommendations in an "Open-Unacceptable Action" status pending completion of the Board's investigation of an April 16, 1985, derailment at Granby, Colorado, since the issue of emergency lighting would be addressed in the Board's report of that accident. As a result of that accident investigation, the Board did ultimately address a Safety Recommendation to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) regarding an improved emergency lighting system. In spite of industry's efforts to improve emergency systems, including lighting systems, as highlighted in FRA's 1984 report, the Board's investigations of accidents over the years and since the FRA report was issued have continued to illustrate the inadequacies in the existing emergency lighting systems. Although there has been no further followup on Safety Recommendations R-75-3 and R-76-28 since the Board's July 29, 1985, letter, the FRA did state in an October 8, 1985, letter, which addressed two other Safety Recommendations regarding passenger car equipment, R-80-31 and R-83-76, that it did not intend to take any further regulatory action on passenger car equipment. In view of this statement, the Board believes that continued dialogue with the FRA on the issue of emergency lighting systems at this time would prove futile. Consequently, Safety Recommendations R-75-3 and R-76-28 have been placed in a "Closed-Unacceptable Action" status.

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: 4/29/1980
Response: From the railroad accident report: Derailment of Amtrak train number 4, the Southwest Limited, on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company tracks in Lawrence, Kansas on October 2, 1979. The Board adopted this report on 4/29/1980.The Safety Board reiterates and reemphasizes the importance of the following recommendations made to the Federal Railroad Administration as a result of previous accident investigations: R-75-3, R-76-29, R-79-38, and R-79-40. The Safety Board also reiterates the following recommendation made to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak): R-79-36.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 1/31/1978
Response:

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/9/1975
Response: FRA RESPONDS THAT PRESENT INDUSTRY STANDARDS INCLUDE BOTH EMER EXITS AND LIGHTS. FRA PRESENTLY CONDUCTING RESEARCH AS BASIS FOR PROMULGATING MINIMUM SAFETY STANDARDS FOR PASSENGER CARS. STANDARDS FOR EMERGENCY LIGHTING AND EMERGENCY EXITS WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE RULEMAKING. AUGUST 20, 1975 NTSB INFORMED FRA THAT POWER SOURCE FOR EMERGENCY LIGHTING SHOULS BE ONE THAT WOULD FUNCTION UNDER ALL CONDITIONS. RESPONSE DATED 7/14/78: PASSENGER CAR RESEARCH .. INITIATED AT TSC IN 1974...WAS COMPLETED EARLIER THIS YEAR. FRA IS AWAITING THE FINAL REPORT OF ... RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS NOW UNDER CONTRACTOR REVIEW...