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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-77-009
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 4:25 A.M., ON MAY 16, 1976, THE LOCOMOTIVE AND 27 CARS OF CHICAGO AND NORTH WESTERN FREIGHT TRAIN NO. 242 DERAILED AS THEY MOVED EASTWARD ON A 1 DEGREE 54' TO 2DEGREE 15' COMPOUND CURVE JUST WEST OF GLEN ELLYN, ILLINOIS. ANOTHER CNW FREIGHT TRAIN, NO. 380, WAS MOVING EASTWARD ON AN ADJACENT TRACK AT THE TIME AND STRUCK THE DERAILED CARS OF NO. 242; THE LOCOMOTIVE AND NINE CARS OF TRAIN NO. 380 DERAILED. THE TANKHEAD OF TRAIN NO. 380'S FIFTH CAR WAS PUNCTURED DURING THE DERAILMENT BY THE COUPLER OF AN ADJACENT CAR; THIS RELEASED AN HYDROUS AMMONIA INTO THE ATMOSPHERE. FOURTEEN PERSONS WERE INJURED AS A RESULT OF THE DERAILMENT AND RELEASE OF THE AMMONIA. DAMAGE FROM THE ACCIDENT WAS ESTIMATED TO BE $1,914,600
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: REQUIRE BY REGULATION THAT PERSONS PERFORMING TRAIN DISPATCHING FUNCTIONS MAINTAIN A RECORD OF TRAINS AND CARS THAT ARE CARRYING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND OF CURRENT METHODS OF AND PROCEDURES FOR, CONTAINMENT OF THESE MATERIALS IN THE EVENT OF A MISHAP AND COMMUNICATE THIS INFORMATION TO PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICIALS IMMEDIATELY AFTER THEY LEARN OF A TRAIN ACCIDENT.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed--No Longer Applicable
Mode: Railroad
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79766
Accident Reports: Chicago and North Western Transportation Company, Freight Train Derailments and Collision
Report #: RAR-77-02
Accident Date: 5/16/1976
Issue Date: 4/21/1977
Date Closed: 3/12/1979
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: DOT (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: DOT
Date: 3/12/1979
Response: The intent of recommendation R-77-9 was to establish a ready means to communicate hazardous material emergency handling procedures to rescue personnel. Since train dispatchers commonly receive the first advice of accidents, it was believed that a dispatcher's unique position would afford him an opportunity to convey immediate procedural information to emergency forces. The National Transportation Safety Board recognized that establishing a communication link between the accident-scene officials and the technical experts was a recurring problem in railroad accidents involving hazardous materials. Thus recommendation R-77-12 was directed to the Manufacturing and Chemists Association to utilize their Chemical Transportation Emergency Center (CHEMTREC) facilities to assist in establishing the described communications link. CHEMTREC established a review group which ultimately concluded that although this objective was conceptually sound, it was not achievable under the existing operating procedures. CHEMTREC's findings were similar to the conclusions drawn at the completion of the Safety Board's Hazardous Material Hearing on April 4, 5, 6, 1978. Subsequently, on June 28, 1978, the Board directed recommendation I-78-10 to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) to "Supply the leadership required to establish an adequate nationwide hazardous materials emergency response network to meet all facets of hazardous materials emergency response needs, using existing State and private resources whenever possible." The Safety Board has received recent advice from the DOT to the effect that the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has been directed to develop an implementation plan for expanding its present National Response Center and integrating the USCG response system with other systems in the private industry sector. When fully implemented, the plan will provide the appropriate mechanism for a "single telephone number" response system. The DOT response also notes that their study of existing response mechanisms and information systems indicated that necessary resources are already in place in CHEMTREC, the Coast Guard's Chemical Hazards Response Information System (CHRIS) and the Hazard Assessment Computer System (HACS) and other data bases. Based on the above circumstances, the Safety Board believes that recommendation R-77-9 is no longer applicable and it has been so classified and closed accordingly.

From: DOT
To: NTSB
Date: 12/15/1978
Response: FRA LTR OF 12/15/78: TO REQUIRE BY REGULATION THAT TRAIN DISPATCHERS MAINTAIN A RECORD OF TRAINS AND CARS CARRYING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND TO HAVE INFORMATION CONCERNING CONTAINMENT OF THESE MATERIALS AVAILABLE IN CASE OF MISHAP WOULD NOT BE COST BENEFICIAL ACTION. IMPLEMENTING SUCH A RECOMMENDATION WOULD BE REDUNDANT AND WOULD NOT MEASURABLY INCREASE THE PRESENT DEGREE OF SAFETY AFFORDED BY EXISTING REGULATIONS. NOTE: NTSB IS AWARE THAT DOT HAS TAKEN SIGNIFICANT ACTION IN COMBINING ALL THE EXISTING EMERGENCY RESPONSE CENTERS INTO A COMMUNICATION NETWORK THAT WILL PROVIDE A SINGLE TELEPHONE NUMBER SOURCE OF HAZARDOUS MATERIAL TECHNICAL EXPERTISE.