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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-83-052
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 VIRGINIA OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES: ASSIST THE TOWN OF COLONIAL HEIGHTS AND OTHER JURISDICTIONS, AS NECESSARY, IN IMPROVING THEIR EMERGENCY RESPONSE PROGRAMS FOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, IN BETTER DEFINING THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE EMERGENCY SERVICES COORDINATOR FOR RECEIVING AND ANALYZING RESPONSE RELATED INFORMATION AND IN DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE SITE SECURITY PROCDURES.
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: 8/18/1983
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Commonwealth of Virginia, Office of Emergency and Energy Services (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Virginia, Office of Emergency and Energy Services
Date: 8/18/1983
Response: The Safety Board notes the efforts of the Virginia Office of Emergency and Energy Services (OEES) to upgrade the overall State Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Program. We also note that OEES has assigned agency personnel to provide hazardous materials response in the Southwest part of the State and is broadening its hazardous materials training program to re-emphasize the responsibility of local government Emergency Services Coordinators and hazardous materials response personnel. Based on the above information, the Board has placed Safety Recommendation R-83-52 in a “Closed-Acceptable Action” status.

From: Commonwealth of Virginia, Office of Emergency and Energy Services
To: NTSB
Date: 6/9/1983
Response: VIRGINIA OFFICE OF EMERGENCY AND ENERGY SERVICES LETTER: THE VIRGINIA OFFICE OF EMERGENCY AND ENERGY SERVICES (OEES) IS REVIEWING THE OVERALL STATE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS EMERGENCY RESPONSE PROGRAM. THE OEES HAS ASSIGNED TWO AGENCY PERSONNEL TO PROVIDE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESPONSE IN THE SOUTHWEST PART OF THE STATE AND IS BROADENING ITS HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TRAINING PROGRAM TO RE-EMPHASIZE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF BOTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMERGENCY SERVICES COORDINATORS AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESPONSE PERSONNEL.