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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-75-032
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 7:55 A.M. E.D.T., ON OCTOBER 23, 1974, A POLK DISTRICT SCHOOLBUS CARRYING 87 STUDENTS WAS STRUCK ON A GRADE CROSSING IN ARAGON, GEORGIA, BY THE CABOOSE OF A SOUTHERN RAILWAY SYSTEM WORK TRAIN. THE TRAIN, WHICH CONSISTED OF A LOCOMOTIVE AND 12 CARS, WAS BACKING THROUGH THE CROSSING. FAILING TO STOP AT OR NEAR THE POINT OF IMPACT, THE TRAIN PUSHED THE SCHOOLBUS 315 FEET DOWN THE TRACK. DURING THE MOVEMENT THE CABOOSE OVERRODE THE BUS AS THAT VEHICLE ROLLED ONTO ITS ROOF. THE ROOF OF THE BUS WAS CRUSHED TO THE LEVEL OF THE SEAT TOPS. THERE WERE NO EJECTIONS OR FIRE. SEVEN OF THE OCCUPANTS OF THE BUS WERE KILLED. THE BUSDRIVER AND 71 OF THE STUDENTS WERE KNOWN TO BE INJURED. NONE OF THE OCCUPANTS OF THE TRAIN WERE INJURED.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRA PROMULGATE REGULATIONS TO REQUIRE THAT IF RADIOS ARE TO BE UTILIZED FOR DIRECTING REARWARD MOVEMENT OF TRAINS, THE RADIOS MUST BE INSTALLED SO THAT THEY CAN BE USED BY AN EMPLOYEE FROM THE LEADING PLATFORM.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Aragon, GA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 80181
Accident Reports: ​Collision of the Southern Railway Work Train with a Polk District Schoolbus
Report #: RHR-75-1
Accident Date: 10/23/1974
Issue Date: 7/16/1975
Date Closed: 2/13/1979
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 2/13/1979
Response: Following the issuance of Title 49 CFR 220 - Radio Standards and Procedures - the National Transportation Safety Board expressed its concern that 49 CFR 220.49 did not adequately address the objective of the recommendation. Correspondence between our respective technical staffs failed to resolve the issue; consequently, the subject was placed on the agenda for discussion in the FRA/NTSB Quarterly Meeting of November 320, 1978. At this meeting, representatives from FRA's Office of Safety advised the Safety Board's representatives that the intent of the language of 49 CFR 220.49 requires that the employee using radio to direct a reverse movement must be positioned so as to have safe control of the movement. This is supported by that part of 220.49 which states "…If…continuous radio contact is not maintained, the movement must be stopped immediately." The regulation is to be enforced accordingly. With this mutual understanding, the Safety Board believes that the issuance of Title 49 CFR 220 offers acceptable alternate action to recommendation R-75-32 and it will be closed accordingly.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 11/7/1977
Response: The Safety Board's concern is that Part 220.49 does not contain appropriate reference to visibility being afforded the employee directing the rearward movement. Does the Federal Railroad Administration feel that the new Part 220 adequately addresses this problem or is a further amendment being contemplated? Your assistance in clarifying this point would be greatly appreciated.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/6/1975
Response: THE FRA PUBLISHED AN ADVANCE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING REGARDING RADIO STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES IN FEDERAL REGISTER, VOLUME 40, NO.155, AUGUST 11, 1975. THE ANPRM CONTAINS SPECIFIC LANGUAGE REGARDING THE USE OF RADIOS FOR REARWARD MOVEMENT OF TRAINS. 1/30/78 - RESPONSE FROM FRA: WE WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT IN THOSE INSTANCES IN WHICH A REVERSE MOVE IS BEING MADE WITHOUT A RADIO ON THE LEADING PLATFORM, THERE IS AVAILABLE TO THE TRAINMAN ON THAT PLATFORM AN EMERGENCY BRAKE VALVE WHICH CAN BE USED TO CONTROL THE MOVEMENT OF THE TRAIN. THE FRA DOES FEEL THAT SECTION 220.49 SWITCHING, BACKING, OR PUSHING ADEQUATELY ADDRESSES THE SUBJECT OF RADIO COMMUNICATION IN A SWITCHING, BACKING, OR PUSHING OPERATION, AND WE DO NOT CONTEMPLATE FURTHER AMENDMENT. 11/30/78 - NTSB/FRA QUARTERLY MEETING - FRA ASSURED NTSB THAT FRA INTENT OF MEANING OF 49 CFR 220.49 IS THAT THE EMPLOYEE USING THE RADIO TO DIRECT A REVERSE MOVE MUST BE POSITIONED SO AS TO HAVE SAFE CONTROL OF THE MOVEMENT. THE REGULATION IS TO BE ENFORCED IN KEEPING WITH THAT PART OF 220.49 WHICH STATES IF CONTINUOUS RADIO CONTACT IS NOT MAINTAINED THE MOVEMENT MUST BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY.