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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-80-053
Details
Synopsis: ON JULY 17, 1980, SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (SEPTA)-CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION (CONRAIL) COMMUTER TRAIN NO. 472 STRUCK THE REAR OF SEPTA-CONRAIL COMMUTER TRAIN NO. 406 WHILE IT WAS STANDING ON THE NO. 2 TRACK EAST OF THE STATION AT NORTH WALES, PENNSYLVANIA. THE REAR CAR OF TRAIN NO. 406 OVERRODE AND DESTROYED THE EMPTY LEAD CAR OF TRAIN NO. 472. OF THE ESTIMATED 321 PERSONS ON THE 2 TRAINS, 64 PASSENGERS AND 3 CREWMEMBERS RECEIVED INJURIES. DAMAGE TO THE EQUIPMENT WAS ESTIMATED AT $1,475,000.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION: PROVIDE FOR THE INSPECTION BY COMPETENT MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL OF EQUIPMENT LAYING OVER AT OUTLYING TERMINALS BEFORE IT IS RELEASED ON A SCHEDULED RUN.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: North Wales, PA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA80AR045
Accident Reports: Rear End Collision of Septa Conrail Trains Nos. 406 and 472 on Conrail Track
Report #: RAR-80-11
Accident Date: 7/17/1980
Issue Date: 1/5/1981
Date Closed: 9/7/1982
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Conrail (Consolidated Rail Corporation) (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Conrail (Consolidated Rail Corporation)
Date: 9/7/1982
Response: Recommendation R-80-53 asked Conrail to provide for the inspection by competent maintenance personnel of equipment laying over at outlying terminals before it is released on a scheduled run. We note Conrail does not intend to amend its inspection procedures with SEPTA at outlying terminals. However, the only reason given for this conclusion is that “Conrail’s review (with SEPTA) of its maintenance procedures has not indicated that any change in assigned forces could justified" The train involved was know dispatched with equipment problems detected the day before the collision. Further the crewmembers on train No. 472 were not aware of the mechanical or electrical statusof the equipment, nor had they been advised of any defects or malfunctions which may hamcompromised the safe operation of their train. In the absence of their own capability to properly correct the malfunction, a qualified electrician assigned in a mobile status to check the operability of equipment at outlying points may well have prevented the accident. We believe that an improved testing or checkout procedure is needed on equipment laying over at outlying terminals and that it is Conrail’s responsibility to provide for the inspection and repair of equipment operated in SEPTA service on Conrail’s lines, Since the Conrail response does not indicate that this has been done or that there is a program to satisfy recommendation R-80-53, the Board must conclude that Conrail's action does not fulfill the objective of the recommendation and it will be classified Closed--Unaceeptable Action,”

From: Conrail (Consolidated Rail Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 8/10/1981
Response: CONRAIL LTR: AS PREVIOUSLY EXPLAINED, HOWEVER, THERE ARE NO MECHANICAL FORCES AT MANY OUTLYING TURNAROUND POINTS. THE TRAIN INVOLVED IN THIS COLLISION ORIGINATED AT SUCH A POINT. IT HAD EXPERIENCED CERTAIN PROBLEMS ON ITS OUTBOUND TRIP, THE PREVIOUS EVENING. ON THE DAY OF THE COLLISION , IT ALSO EXPERIENCED PROBLEMS FURTHER ON, ALONG ITS ROUTE TO PHILA DELPHIA. CONRAIL'S REVIEW (WITH SEPTA) OF ITS MAINTENANCE PROCEDURES HAS NOT INDICATED THAT ANY CHANGE IN ASSIGNED FORCES COULD BE JUSTIFIED.

From: NTSB
To: Conrail (Consolidated Rail Corporation)
Date: 7/7/1981
Response: Recommendation R-80-5Qasked Conrail to provide for the inspection by competent maintenance personnel of equipment laying over at an outlying” terminal before it is released on a scheduled run. The intent of R-80-53 was not to provide a more in-depth inspection for trains making a turnaround at outlying terminals but for equipment that had been laid over or that had experienced mechar)ical or electrical problems. Our accident investigation disclosed that an improved maintenance program could reduce the likelihdod of operating problems such as those experienced on car No. 9020. We believe that the employees performing the maint:nance and inspections tasks‘at outlying terminals should include specialists i.n a variety of inspection and maintenance operations peculiar to commuter cars. We note. that Conrail is presently reviewing its inspection procedures with SEPTA and othler organizations for which Conrail operates rail service. We would appreciate being no,tified, regarding the results of your review as it relates to our recommendation. Pending receipt of this information, Recommendation R-80-53 will be classified in an “Open-Acceptable Action” status.

From: Conrail (Consolidated Rail Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 3/18/1981
Response: CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION LTR: CONRAIL HAS FOLLOWED THE NORMAL INDUSTRY PRACTICE OF MAKING ONE THOROUGH INSPECTION PER DAY, SUPPLEMENTED BY TURNAROUND INSPECTION OF BRAKE EQUIPMENT HEADLIGHTS, CAB SIGNAL, HORN, AND OTHER APPLICABLE SAFETY APPLIANCES. THIS IS PRESENTLY UNDER REVIEW WITH SEPTA, AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS FOR WHICH CONRAIL OPERATES COMMUTER RAIL SERVICE. HOWEVER, AS IT GENERALLY HAS BEEN FELT THAT A FULL MECHANICAL INSPECTION SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED AT EVERY TURNAROUND POINT, CONRAIL WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THE COMMUTER AUTHORITIES TO ASSURE THAT ALL EQUIPMENT USED FOR PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION IS SAFE TO OPERATE.