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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-83-048
Details
Synopsis: ON MAY 31, 1982, NORTHBOUND SEABOARD COAST LINE (SCL) FREIGHT TRAIN NO. 120 DERAILED AT THE SWIFT CREEK BRIDGE IN COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VIRGINIA, FOLLOWING A HARD RUN IN OF SLACK WHICH OCCURRED WHEN THE TRAIN TRANSITED A CHANGE IN GRADES. THE TRAIN WAS CLASSIFIED AS RESTRICTED BY SCL TIMETABLE DESIGNATION WITH A MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED SPEED OF 50 MPH. THE ENGINEER STATED THE TRAIN SPEED WAS 45 MPH AT THE TIME OF DERAILMENT; HOWEVER, TESTS CONDUCTED FOLLOWING THE ACCIDENT INDICATE THAT THE TRAIN SPEED WAS 64 MPH WHEN THE TRAIN DERAILED. CARS NO. 89 THROUGH NO. 118 DERAILED. A TANK CAR WAS BREACHED IN THE DERAILMENT, AND ITS CONTENTS WERE RELEASED AND IMMEDIATELY IGNITED. NO CREWMEBERS WERE INJURED AS A RESULT OF THE ACCIDENT, BUT 12 FIREFIGHTERS AND A STATE EMERGENCY OFFICIAL COLLAPSED DURING FIREFIGHTING OPERATIONS. ERRONEOUS AND CONFLICTING INFORMATION CONCERNING HAZARDOUS MATERIAL ON THE TRAIN CAUSED CONFUSION AND MISDIRECTED EMERGENCY RESPONSE EFFORTS.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE SEABOARD SYSTEM RAILROAD: PERIODICALLY INSTRUCT AND TEST TRAINCREWS AND SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL ON THE PROCEDURES FOR USING TRAIN DOCUMENTS TO IDENTIFY ALL CARS TRANSPORTING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND THE INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED TO ASSIST EMERGENCY RESPONSE PERSONNEL.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Colonial Heights, VA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA82AR013
Accident Reports: Derailment of Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Train No. 120
Report #: RAR-83-04
Accident Date: 5/31/1982
Issue Date: 5/24/1983
Date Closed: 1/11/1985
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: CSX Transportation, Inc. (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 1/11/1985
Response: The Board notes that the SBD has incorporated into each Division Timetable, which every traincrew is required to have while on duty, special instructions concerning the handling of waybill and other hazardous materials information pertinent to the train consist. In view of the fact that tests are periodically conducted on operating rules and timetable instructions, this action is responsive to the intent of Safety Recommendation R-83-48 which has been placed in a “Closed--Acceptable Action” status. While we have closed this recommendation based on the information you have supplied, it is important to note that this problem involving traincrew actions during an emergency has surfaced again in our investigations of two recent Seaboard derailments. One of these occurred at Clay, Kentucky, on February 5, 1984; the other was at Nashville, Tennessee, on April 10, 1984. We anticipate including in our reports of these accidents an extended discussion of traincrews instruction on the handling of hazardous materials train derailments and effective communication between traincrews and local officials and residents.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 7/24/1984
Response: SBD LETTER: IT IS SBD'S POLICY TO MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ELIMINATE UNDESIRABLE INCIDENTS INVOLVING THE TRANSPORTATION OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. WE HAVE AN ON-GOING PROGRAM OF TRAINING AND TESTING. NOW INCORPORATED IN EACH DIVISION TIMETABLE ARE SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS WHICH INCLUDE SPECIFIC DIRECTIONS TO THE CONDUCTOR ABOUT THE HANDLING OF WAYBILL AND OTHER HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INFORMATION PERTINENT TO TRAIN CONSIST. (NOTE: PLEASE SEE ATTACHED EXHIBIT B, WHICH IS A COPY OF PAGES 50 AND 51 OF A REPRESENTATIVE TIMETABLE.) WHILE ON DUTY, EACH MEMBER OF EVERY SBD TRAIN CREW IS REQUIRED TO HAVE A CURRENT TIMETABLE. ADDITIONALLY, EACH TRAIN CREW MEMBER MUST BE CONVERSANT WITH AND OBEY THE RULES AND SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 4/30/1984
Response: The investigation of the accident revealed that the conductor did not follow procedures for using train documents as outlined in Train Bulletin RM-13. According to this bulletin, the conductor should have searched the train documents for cars with STCC and UN identification numbers. Instead, he searched for cars with a ‘dangerousll endorsement, and as a result, one loaded tank car was not identified. Further, rather than provide emergency response personnel with hazardous material information from the waybills and consist, the conductor simply handed the documents to the response personnel believing that they would know what to do with the documents. It is the Board’s position that merely including this information in materials covered in rule classes is not sufficient to highlight the importance of following procedures during a hazardous materials derailment. The Board urges SCL to make a stronger commitment toward training and testing employees in this area. Pending further response, we will hold Safety Recommendation R-83-48 in an “Open-Unacceptable Action” status.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 7/22/1983
Response: SEABOARD SYSTEM RAILROAD LETTER: WE WILL IMPLEMENT THIS RECOMMENDATION AS OUTLINED BELOW. IT APPARENTLY RESULTED FROM THE FACT THAT OUR CONDUCTOR FAILED TO SPECIFICALLY CALL TO THE ATTENTION OF THE RESPONSE GROUP A TANK CAR THAT WAS IN THE DERAILMENT. THIS CAR CONTAINED COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID, AND REQUIRED NO DANGEROUS ENDORSEMENT. IT IS BELIEVED THAT NO EXTRA TRAINING OR TESTING IS REQUIRED TO ENABLE TRAIN CREW AND SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL TO READ THE DOCUMENTS THAT ARE MADE AVAILABLE TO THEM TO COVER CARS IN THE TRAIN. HOWEVER, WE WILL STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF EXAMINING EACH WAYBILL CLOSELY, PAYING SPECIAL ATTENTION TO TANK CARS, AND INSTRUCT THAT INFORMATION CONCERNING ANY CAR CONTAINING A COMMODITY THAT MIGHT BE QUESTIONABLE SHOULD BE FURNISHED THE RESPONSE GROUPS. THIS TRAINING CAN BE INCLUDED IN MATERIALS COVERED IN RULE CLASSES ALONG WITH A REVIEW OF THE ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY THE TRAIN CREW AND SUPERVISORS AT ANY DERAILMENT INVOLVING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS.