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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-83-049
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: REQUIRE SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL ARRIVING AT THE SCENE OF AN EMERGENCY TO DETERMINE WHAT INFORMATION HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY TRAINCREWS TO EMERGENCY RESPONSE PERSONNEL, TO VERIFY THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED, AND TO ADVISE THE ON-SCENE COORDINATOR OF ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE INITIAL INFORMATION GIVEN BY THE TRAINCREW.
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):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 1/11/1985
Response: The Board notes that supervisory personnel are required to monitor the activities of traincrews to insure proper compliance with operating rules and special instructions. As indicated in your response to Safety Recommendation R-83-48, special instructions regarding the handling of hazardous materials information have been incorporated into each division timetable. Consequently, supervisory personnel are responsible for assuring that these special instructions have been properly carried out by the traincrew. Based on this action, Safety Recommendation R-83-49 has been placed in a “Closed--Acceptable Action” status. The Board notes that an even more extensive training and testing program is being developed by SBD and will be in widespread use by late January 1985.While we have closed this recommendation, the Board would appreciate receiving more detailed information regarding this program.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 7/24/1984
Response: SBD LETTER: IN ADDITION TO THE OPERATING RULES AND SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS WITH WHICH AFFECTED EMPLOYEES MUST BE KNOWLEDGEABLE, SBD HAS IN FORCE AN EFFICIENCY TESTING AND OBSERVATION PROGRAM WHEREBY SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL ARE REQUIRED TO MONITOR THE ACTIVITIES OF EACH TRAIN CREW MEMBER (AS WELL AS OTHER EMPLOYEES) TO INSURE PROPER COMPLIANCE WITH OUR OPERATING RULES AND SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS. THESE OBSERVATIONS INCLUDE ATTENTION GIVEN HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INSTRUCTIONS, AS NOTED ON THE ATTACHED EXCERPT FROM THE OBSERVATION PROGRAM (EXHIBIT C). FINALLY, AN EVEN MORE EXTENSIVE TRAINING AND TESTING PROGRAM IS BEING DEVELOPED BY SBD AND WILL BE WIDELY USED BY LATE SUMMER 1984.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 4/30/1984
Response: The Safety Board is pleased that SCL plans to issue instructions that will require the first supervisory personnel arriving at the scene of an emergency to contact the emergency response personnel to verify the information provided by the traincrew. The Board emphasizes the importance of the supervisory personnel verifying the accuracy of the information provided and reporting any errors to the on-scene coordinator. The Board would appreciate receiving a copy of the instructions when they are issued. Pending receipt of a copy of these instructions, we will hold Safety Recommendation R-83-49 in an “Open-Acceptable Action” status.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 7/22/1983
Response: SEABOARD SYSTEM RAILROAD LETTER: THE VALIDITY OF HAVING THE FIRST SUPERVISOR GET IN CONTACT WITH THE RESPONSE PERSONNEL IMMEDIATELY TO INSURE THAT THEY HAVE THE PROPER INFORMATION IS RECOGNIZED, AND INSTRUCTIONS TO THAT EFFECT WILL BE ISSUED. IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, THE TRAINMASTER, UPON ARRIVAL AT THE SCENE, CONTACTED THE CONDUCTOR AND DID DEVELOP FROM THE CONDUCTOR THAT THE WAYBILLS AND OTHER MATERIAL HAD BEEN RELEASED TO THE RESPONSE PERSONNEL. THE TRAINMASTER, THEREFORE, DID NOT INSPECT THE WAYBILLS IMMEDIATELY UPON ARRIVAL, AND ASSUMED THAT ALL PERTINENT INFORMATION WAS AVAILABLE TO THE RESPONSE PERSONNEL. HE IMMEDIATELY BECAME OCCUPIED WITH HIS INSPECTION DUTIES, AND DID NOT CONTACT THE RESPONSE PERSONNEL FOR SOME TIME AFTERWARDS.