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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-83-105
Details
Synopsis: ON APRIL 3, 1983, AMTRAK PASSENGER TRAIN NO. 820 (THE CRESCENT), EN ROUTE FROM NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WITH 331 PASSENGERS AND 18 CREWMEMBERS ABOARD, DERAILED WHEN IT STRUCK A LANDSLIDE NEAR ROCKFISH, VIRGINIA, ON SOUTHERN RAILWAY SYSTEM (SR) TRACK ABOUT 23 MILES SOUTH OF CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA. HEAVY RAINS IN THE AREA PRECEDED THE LANDSLIDE. THE TRACK HAD BEEN INSPECTED 6 HOURS BEFORE THE ACCIDENT. THE TRAIN WAS MOVING ABOUT 48 MPH AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT. THERE WAS NO TRAIN ORDER IN EFFECT FOR REDUCED SPEED IN THE AREA OF THE DERAILMENT. TWENTY-FOUR PERSONS WERE INJURED, AND DAMAGE WAS ESTIMATED TO BE $232,000.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY SYSTEM: ADOPT THE RECOMMENDED PRACTICES OF THE AMERICAN RAILWAY ENGINEERING ASSOCIATION REGARDING MAINTENANCE OF EARTH AND ROCK SLOPES.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Rockfish, VA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA83AR005
Accident Reports: Derailment of Amtrak Train No. 820 (The Crescent) of Southern Railway System Track
Report #: RAR-83-10
Accident Date: 4/3/1983
Issue Date: 1/4/1984
Date Closed: 3/13/1985
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Southern Railway System (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Southern Railway System
Date: 3/13/1985
Response: Based on Southern Railway's indication that all new roadbed construction and slope maintenance meets the recommended guidelines of the American Railway Engineering Association, Safety Recommendation R-83-105 has been placed in a "Closed-Acceptable Action" status.

From: Southern Railway System
To: NTSB
Date: 11/20/1984
Response: SOUTHERN RAILWAY LTR: SOUTHERN RAILWAY WILL CONTINUE TO BE GUIDED BY THE RECOMMENDED PRACTICES OF THE AMERICAN RAILWAY ENGINEERING ASSOCIATION WITH RESPECT TO THE MAINTENANCE OF EARTH AND ROCK SLOPES. ALL OF OUR NEW ROADBED CONSTRUCTION AND SLOPE MAINTENANCE IS ACCOMPLISHED WITHIN THOSE GUIDE LINES. WE ARE AWARE THAT WE HAVE MANY MILES OF ROADBED WHICH WERE CONSTRUCTED YEARS BEFORE THE AREA RECOMMENDED PRACTICES WERE FORMULATED. AS INDICATED ABOVE, IT IS OUR POLICY TO TRY TO CORRECT SLOPE EROSION AND SLIDING PROBLEMS AT ALL TROUBLESOME LOCATIONS. WE EXPECT TO CONTINUE TO SPEND SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNTS OF MONEY FOR THIS WORK. FOR EXAMPLE, UNDER OUR 1985 CAPITAL BUDGET WE EXPECT TO RESLOPE AT LEAST FOUR CUTS AND INSTALL THREE ADDITIONAL SLIDE DETECTORS IN VIRGINIA ALONE. IN MOST CASES, THESE PROJECTS REQUIRE THE PURCHASE OF ADDITIONAL RIGHT-OF-WAY IN ORDER TO WIDEN THE ROADBED. THIS HAS BECOME MORE EXPENSIVE EVERY YEAR. HOWEVER, WE KNOW THAT WE MUST MAINTAIN THE SAFETY OF OUR TRACKS AND WILL DEVOTE EVERY EFFORT TOWARDS THAT END.

From: NTSB
To: Southern Railway System
Date: 11/16/1984
Response: On January 4, 1984, the National Transportation Safety Board issued Safety Recommendations R-83-103 through -105 to the Southern Railway System. These recommendations were issued as a result of the Board's investigation of the derailment of an Amtrak train on Southern Railway System track near Rockfish, Virginia, on April 3, 1983. The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent Federal Agency with the statutory responsibility "…to promote transportation safety by conducting independent accident investigations and by formulating safety improvement recommendations" (Public Law 93-633). The Safety Board is vitally interested in any actions taken as a result of its safety recommendations. Our records show that we have not received any indication of action taken by the Southern Railway System regarding the recommended actions. We would appreciate being informed as to what efforts are being made to implement these recommendations. The Safety Board's letter including these recommendations is enclosed for your information.