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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-81-059
Details
Synopsis: ON NOVEMBER 7, 1980, CONRAIL FREIGHT TRAIN OPSE-7 STRUCK THE HEAD END OF AMTRAK TRAIN NO. 74 WHILE IT WAS STANDING ON TRACK NO. 2 AT DOBBS FERRY, NEW YORK. THE LEAD LOCOMOTIVE UNIT OF TRAIN OPSE-7 OVERRODE AND DESTROYED THE OPERATING CAB OF THE POWER CAR OF TRAIN NO. 74. OF THE ESTIMATED 234 PERSONS ABOARD THE TRAINS, 75 PASSENGERS AND 9 CREWMEMBERS WERE INJURED. DAMAGE TO THE EQUIPMENT WAS ESTIMATED AT $915,000.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK): REVISE TURBOTRAINS TO IMPROVE CAB CRASHWORTHINESS IN A COLLISION.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Reconsidered
Mode: Railroad
Location: Dobbs Ferry, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA81AR007
Accident Reports: Head End Collision of Amtrak Passenger Train No. 74 and Conrail Train OPSE-7
Report #: RAR-81-04
Accident Date: 11/7/1980
Issue Date: 5/18/1981
Date Closed: 6/13/1983
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) (Closed - Reconsidered)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 6/13/1983
Response: Since Amtrak’s records and inspections show that that collision posts on the car involved in this accident were connected to the underframe f-beam, and the test mockup report indicates that the posts are in accordance with t he Association of American Railroads design requirements, the Safety Board accepts Amtrak’s findings that the post was welded to the floor I-beam rather than the floor structure. Based on your response, the Board has placed R-81-59 in a “Closed--Reconsidered”

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 6/22/1982
Response: NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION LETTER: RECOMMENDATION R-81-59 CONCERNS MODIFYING THE TURBOLINER TO IMPROVE CRASHWORTHINESS. AMTRAK'S RECORDS AND INSPECTION OF RTL POWER CAR 155 WHEN AT OUR BEECH GROVE FACILITY FOR REPAIR SHOW THAT THE COLLISION POSTS WERE CONNECTED TO THE UNDERFRAME I-BEAM AS DONE IN THE ORIGINAL TEST STAND. PLEASE REFER TO THE ATTACHED DRAWINGS, R-220190 SHOWING THE COLLISION POST TEST STAND, R220062 SHOWING THAT FLOOR PLATES, ETC., ARE BUTT WELDED TO THE FLANG OF THE FLOOR I-BEAM (ITEM #2) AND WELDS GROUND SMOOTH GIVING THE APPEARANCE OF ONE SOLID PLATE, R220061 GENERAL VIEW OF END UNDERFRAME STRUCTURE, AND R22-116 AND R220118 SHOWING THE INSTALLATION OF THE COLLISION POSTS (ITEM NO. 1). ALSO ATTACHED IS ANF'S COLLISION POSTS TEST REPORT DATED MAY 23, 1975, INDICATING THAT THE COLLISION POSTS MEET OR SURPASSED ALL REQUIREMENTS. WE FEEL THAT THERE WAS A MISUNDERSTANDING WITH THE RTL TURBOTRAINS SINCE THE METHOD OF INSTALLATION FOR THE CAB AREA FLOOR PLATES GIVES THE APPEARANCE THAT THE ENTIRE END UNDERFRAME IS COVERED WITH ONE PLATE AND EVERYTHING IS WELDED TO THE PLATE. THIS IS NOT THE CASE AND THE COLLISION POSTS ARE PROPERLY WELDED TO THE FLOOR I-BEAM.

From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 4/7/1982
Response: Recommendation R-81-59 concerns modifyinq the designs of turbotrains to improve cab crashworthiness in a collision. In the Dobbs Ferry accident, damage was inevitable once coupler failures allowed the sill of freight locomotive unit OPSE-7 to override the sill of the power car. Photogrhhs we took during the investigation indicate that the posts were not welded 1 o the I beam in the same manner a5 they were in the mockup test performed in 19,s. One objective of the. crashworthiness improvement would be to fill in this override area to attain the same basic buff strength required of the underframe. be objective could be achieved with stronger full height collision posts. It minht also be achieved by a strongrer roof and sides in conjunction with stronger collision posts. If this approach were usedlthe post would have to be firmly attached to the structure frame under the floor and into an anti-telescopinq point in the roof. We ask that Amtrak review its position on Recommendation P-81-59. In the interim, it will be classified in an "Open--Unacceptable Action" status.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 8/3/1981
Response: NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION LTR: AMTRAK'S RECORDS INDICATE THAT THE TURBOLINERS WERE DESIGNED, BUILT, AND TESTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE A.A.R. SPECIFICATION IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE CONSTRUCTION. THE USUAL FLOOR PLATE DIMENSION FOR MOST AMERICAN PASSENGER AND COMMUTER CARS IS 50" TO 51". THE U-28B LOCOMOTIVE INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT HAS A FLOOR PLATE HEIGHT OF 67.625", WHICH IS HIGHER THAN ALL THESE CARS. AMTRAK'S EXAMINATION OF THE CARS' COLLISION POST CONNECTION INDICATES THAT THE POSTS ARE WELDED TO THE I BEAM IN THE SAME MANNER AS THEY WERE IN THE TEST.