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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-75-014
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 U.S. COAST GUARD: REVIEW THE WATERWAY AND RAILWAY OPERATING CONDITIONS AT THE PENN CENTRAL CROSSING OF THE CUYAHOGA RIVER AND PROMULGATE APPROPRIATE REGULATIONS TO ACCOMMODATE BOTH RIVER AND RAIL TRAFFIC SAFELY.
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: USCG (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 9/23/1975
Response: LTR., FROM U.S. COAST GUARD TO THE CHAIRMAN IN RESPONSE: THE U CONCURS WITH NECESSITY TO MAINTAIN REGULATIONS THAT WILL INSURE ADEQUATE ACCOMMODATION OF RAIL AND RIVER TRAFFIC IN AREAS WHERE THERE IS A CONFLICT. USCG WILL CONTINUE REVIEW OF THE OPERATION AT THIS BRIDGE AND IF FREQUENT OR RECURRING CONFLICTS DEVELOP, SPECIFICOPERATING REGULATIONS WILL BE PROMULGATED TO INSURE RAIL AND RIVER SAFETY.