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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-75-011
Details
Synopsis: ON MAY 8, 1974, PENN CENTRAL FREIGHT TRAIN OV-8 COLLIDED WITH COUNTERWEIGHT OF A LIFT-SPAN DRAWBRIDGE ON THE CUYAHOGA RIVER AT CLEVELAND, OHIO. SHORTLY BEFORE THE COLLISION, THE EASTBOUND TRAIN HAD BEEN TRAVELING AT 33 MPH ON A MAIN TRACK EQUIPPED WITH AUTOMATICBLOCK SIGNALS WHEN THE DB OPERATOR CONTACTED THE TRAINCREW AND ADVISED THEM THAT THE ROUTE WAS CLEAR AHEAD. THEN, THE OPERATOR REMEMBERED THAT A BOAT HAD BEEN AWAITING PASSAGE AND, WITHOUT INFORMING THE TRAINCREW, HE OPENED THE BRIDGE. THE TRAIN PASSED THE RED HOME SIGNAL OF THE DB INTERLOCKING WITHOUT BRAKING AND STRUCK THE COUNTERWEIGHT OF THE OPEN BRIDGE ABOUT 600 FEET BEYOND THE SIGNAL. THE TWO CREWMEMBERS IN THE LEAD LOCOMOTIVE UNIT DIED AS A RESULT OF CRASH INJURIES. THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD DETERMINES THAT THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THIS ACCIDENT WAS THE FAILURE OF THE LOCOMOTIVE CREWMEMBERS TO OBEY A WAYSIDE SIGNAL INDICATION TOSTOP AND THE CONCURRENT OPENING OF THE DRAWBRIDGE BY THE DB OPERATORAFTER HE HAD ADVISED THE ONCOMING TRAINCREW BY RADIO THAT THE ROUTE WAS CLEAR. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC RULES THAT EITHER PROHIBITED SUCH A RADIO MESSAGE OR DESCRIBED THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH SUCH A RADIO TRANSMITTAL COULD BE ACCEPTEDAS AN OPERATIONAL CONTROL.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE PENN CENTRAL TRANSPORTATION COMPANY: REVIEW ITS RULE ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM AND TAKE THE NECESARY ACTION TO INSURE THAT ITS EMPLOYEES UNDERSTAND AND COMPLY WITH THE OPERATING RULES.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Cleveland, OH, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79812
Accident Reports: Collision of Penn Central Freight Train OV-8 with an Open Drawbridge
Report #: RAR-75-03
Accident Date: 5/8/1974
Issue Date: 3/26/1975
Date Closed: 9/10/1976
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Penn Central Transportation Company (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: Penn Central Transportation Company
To: NTSB
Date: 7/28/1975
Response: PC'S RULE ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM HAS BEEN REVIEWED WITH RESPECT T CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE SUBJECT ACCIDENT. PROGRAM IS CONTINUALLY REVIEWED BY A SYSTEM TRAIN RULES COMMITTEE; SYSTEM OPERATING STAFF AND REGIONAL OFFICER. DURING PAST YEAR OPERATING RULES AND SAFETY DEPARTMENTS COMBINED UNDER ONE HEAD, THE ENABLE PC TO MORE CLOSELY COORDINATE RULES COMPLIANCE RESULTING IN IMPROVED EFFECTIVENESS OF SUPERVISION.