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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-83-106
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 FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: REQUIRE THAT LANDSLIDES ON RAILROAD RIGHTS-OF-WAY BE REPORTED SEPARATELY FROM OTHER WEATHER-RELATED ACCIDENT DATA.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Reconsidered
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: 6/12/1984
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Reconsidered)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 6/12/1984
Response: Based on your response, the Safety Board finds the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) ability to access its computerized accident data base and retrieve pertinent landslide accident information to be adequate. We have classified Safety Recommendation R-83-106 as "Closed-Reconsidered."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/5/1984
Response: FRA LETTER: CURRENTLY, THE RAILROADS REPORT ACCIDENTS ATTRIBUTABLE TO LANDSLIDES UNDER THE GENERAL CATEGORY "ROADBED DEFECTS" AND UNDER SPECIFIC CAUSE CODE NUMBER 102, WHICH READS: "WASHOUT/RAIN/SLIDE/ICE, ETC., DMG. TO TRK." IN 1983, THE RAILROADS REPORTED A TOTAL OF 3,884 TRAIN ACCIDENTS TO THE FRA. OF THESE, ONLY 21 WERE REPORTED UNDER CAUSE CODE 102. THE FRA'S COMPUTERIZED DATA BASE INCLUDES ALL THE ACCIDENT RELATED INFORMATION FROM THE RAILROAD ACCIDENT REPORT (F 6180.54), INCLUDING THE NARRATIVE DESCRIPTION. IT IS QUITE EASY TO PRINT ALL THE INFORMATION RELATED TO THE 21 ACCIDENTS REPORTED UNDER CODE 102 IN 1983 AND PERFORM AN ANALYSIS OF THEM. ADDITIONALLY, A KEY WORD SEARCH CAN BE PERFORMED. FOR INSTANCE, WHEN WE SEARCHED THE CAUSE CODE 102 REPORTS USING THE KEY WORDS "LAND, MUD OR SLIDE" FOUR ACCIDENTS WHICH RESULTED FROM LANDSLIDES IN 1983 WERE REVEALED, INCLUDING THE ACCIDENT RESULTING IN RECOMMEDNATION R-83-106. IN REVIEWING THE LANDSLIDE ACCIDENTS AND REPORTING, THE FRA HAS FOUND THAT LANDSLIDE ACCIDENTS ARE FEW IN NUMBER AND THAT THE CURRENT REPORTING SYSTEM ACCURATELY CAPTURES ALL OF THEM. WE DO NOT FEEL, THEREFORE, THAT A MODIFICATION TO THE PRESENT SYSTEM IS NECESSARY. MY STAFF WILL BE PLEASED TO BRIEF THE NTSB ON THE CAPABILITY OF THE FRA COMPUTERIZED DATA BASE SYSTEM.