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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-75-036
Details
Synopsis: AT ABOUT 8:19 A.M., ON JANUARY 2, 1975, PENN CENTRAL COMMUTER NO. 528 PASSED A "STOP-AND-PROCEED" SIGNAL WITHOUT STOPPING AND COLLIDED WITH THE REAR END OF COMMUTER TRAIN 526 AT BOTANICAL GARDENSTATION IN NEW YORK CITY. FOUR CARS OF TRAIN 526 WERE DERAILED; HOWEVER, DAMAGE TO CARS OF BOTH TRAINS WAS MINIMAL. TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE PASSENGERS AND EMPLOYEES WERE INJURED. THREE OF THE INJURED PERSONS WERE ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL AND THE OTHERS WERE TREATED AND RELEASED. THERE WERE 34 FRACTURES, 75 WHIPLASH INJURIES,51 NOSE LACERATIONS, AND MANY OTHER FACIAL LACERATIONS. THE TRAINS WERE THOSE OF THE METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (MTA), WHICHWERE BEING OPERATED BY THE PENN CENTRAL UNDER CONTRACT.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: Promulgate regulations that will ensure that commuter trains will be controlled as required by the signal system in the event that the engineer fails to do so. (Superseded by R-84-30A)
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Superseded
Mode: Railroad
Location: New York, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 80013
Accident Reports: Collision of Two Penn Central Commuter Trains at Botanical Garden Station
Report #: RAR-75-08
Accident Date: 1/2/1975
Issue Date: 8/7/1975
Date Closed: 2/25/1985
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Superseded)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 2/25/1985
Response: In spite of FRA's contention that action has been taken to attack the safety issues underlying these recommendations, the Board continues to investigate accidents in which the head-end crew has become incapacitated. The recent investigation of an accident at Sullivan, Indiana, on September 14, 1983, revealed that both head-end crewmembers of a train had fallen asleep due to the use of alcohol on duty. The train struck the rear caboose of another train, killing the two crewmembers aboard the caboose. As a result of this investigation, the Safety Board on June 18, 1984, issued Safety Recommendation R-84-30A to the FRA and placed R-73-8 in a "Closed-Superseded" status, since the new recommendation addresses the intent of R-73-8. Safety Recommendations R-75-36 and R-76-3 recommend a backup system controlled by the signal system for commuter trains and freight trains, respectively. Since the objective of both recommendations is addressed in R-84-30A, R-75-36, and R-76-3 have been placed in a "Closed-Superseded" status, also. The Board firmly believes in the merit of Safety Recommendation R-84-30A and urges the FRA to take positive action.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/30/1984
Response: FRA LETTER: OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS THE FRA HAS TAKEN CONSIDERABLE ACTION THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH OTHER NTSB RECOMMENDATIONS AND DIRECTLY ATTACKS THE CAUSE BEHIND THESE RECOMMENDATIONS. THE FRA IN COOPERATION WITH LABOR AND INDUSTRY UNDERTOOK AN ANALYSIS OF THE 10 MOST SEVERE ACCIDENT CAUSES ATTRIBUTED TO NEGLIGENCE OF EMPLOYEES. BASED UPON THE FINDINGS, RULES WERE ESTABLISHED GOVERNING BLUE SIGNAL PROTECTION, PROTECTION OF TRAINS AND RADIO STANDARDS. THE FRA HAS ALSO PROMULGATED REGULATIONS THAT ESTABLISH UNIFORM OPERATING RULES AND REQUIRE THAT EMPLOYEES RECEIVE OPERATING RULE TRAINING. THESE PROGRAMS ARE ALL CONSISTENT WITH NTSB RECOMMENDATIONS AND HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED WITH ASSISTANCE FROM RAIL LABOR AND MANAGEMENT. ADDITIONAL LY, THE FRA HAS BEEN CONDUCTING THOROUGH SYSTEM ASSESSMENTS ON RAILROADS THAT SHOW A POOR OR DETERIORATING SAFETY RECORD. FRA HAS FOCUSED ON RAILROAD TRAINING AND EFFICIENCY TESTING PROGRAMS. THIS EFFORT HAS RESULTED IN A PROMPT AND RESPONSIVE EFFORT TO IMPROVE OR INCREASE RAILROAD TRAINING AND EFFICIENCY EFFORTS. THE FRA BELIEVES THESE PROGRAMS, WHICH ACTIVELY INVOLVE THE OPERATING PARTICIPANTS, ATTACK THE ROOT CAUSE OF THESE RECOMMENDATIONS (HUMAN ERROR). THE NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS WHERE AN UNCAPACITATED ENGINEER IS INVOLVED ARE SO VERY SMALL THAT A REQUIREMENT TO INSTALL AN EXPENSIVE HARDWARE SYSTEM ON THE ENTIRE LOCOMOTIVE FLEET IS NOT REQUIRED OR NECESSARY. THE FRA HAS TAKEN CONSIDERABLE ACTION DIRECTED AT ELIMINATING THE CAUSE OF THESE RECOMMEN DATIONS. WE, THEREFORE, REQUEST THAT RECOMMENDATIONS R-73-008, R-75-036 AND R-76-003 BE CLOSED.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 1/31/1978
Response: Based on FRA experience, review of comments, cost benefit analysis, or other factors, does FRA contemplate promulgating appropriate regulations on this subject?

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/5/1975
Response: SEPTEMBER 17, 1975 LTR., FROM FRA TO THE CHAIRMAN: "WE ARE IN PROCESS OF REVIEWING THIS REPORT AND WILL FURNISH YOU OUR COMMENTS PROMPTLY." DECEMBER 9, 1975 LTR., FROM FRA TO THE CHAIRMAN, ATTACHING COPY OF ANPRM APPEARING IN FEDERAL REGISTER V.40, NO. 86 -5/2/75. COMMENTS FROM INTERESTED PARTIES ARE BEING REVIEWED. OCTOBER 27, 1977 DISCUSSED AT NTSB/FRA MEETING. FRA ADVISED THEY ARESTILL ANALYZING THE COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM ANPRM OF 5/2/75. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE ULTIMATE RESPONSE FROM FRA WILL BE THAT A REGULATION IS NOT NECESSARY, THAT THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM IS TRAINING AND TESTING OF EMPLOYEES. FRA ADVISES THAT THEIR TARGET DATE FOR ANALYZING TRAINING AND TESTING IS THE SECOND HALF OF 1978. IT APPEARS AT THIS TIME THAT ANY CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION WILL BE ABOUT TWO YEARS IN THE FUTURE.