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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-85-082
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 10:45 A.M. ON JULY 23, 1984, NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK) TRAINS NOS. 151 AND 168 COLLIDED HEAD-ON ON AMTRAK'S HELL GATE LINE IN THE ASTORIA SECTION OF QUEENS, NEW YORK, NEW YORK. TRAIN NO. 151 WAS BEING OPERATED BY TRAIN ORDER AUTHORITY WESTBOUND ON THE NO. 2 MAIN TRACK BETWEEN MARKET INTERLOCKING AND THE EAST END OF GATE INTERLOCKING. TRAIN NO. 168 WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN STOPPED AND HELD AT THE HOME SIGNAL ON THE NO. 2 TRACK AT THE WEST END OF GATE INTERLOCKING FOR THE ARRIVAL OF TRAIN NO. 151. HOWEVER, TRAIN NO. 168 DID NOT STOP AT THE HOME SIGNAL BUT CONTINUED PAST GATE INTERLOCKING. THE TWO TRAINS COLLIDED ABOUT 1.1 MILES EAST OF GATE INTERLOCKING. ONE PASSENGER WAS KILLED; 129 PASSENGERS, 8 AMTRAK OPERATING CREWMEMBERS, AND 3 AMTRAK SERVICE ATTENDANTS WERE INJURED. PROPERTY DAMAGE WAS ESTIMATED BY AMTRAK TO HAVE BEEN $3,199,000.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK): APPLY FOR AN EXCLUSIVE RADIO CHANNEL FOR THE NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION'S OPERA TIONAL USE IN THE NEW YORK AREA.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: New York, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA84AR014
Accident Reports: Head On Collision of National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) Passenger Trains Nos. 151 and 168
Report #: RAR-85-09
Accident Date: 7/23/1984
Issue Date: 8/5/1985
Date Closed: 6/30/1986
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 6/30/1986
Response: The Safety Board is pleased to note that Amtrak has an assignment of a radio channel for use at the Sunnyside Yard and that funding has been approved and installation will begin the summer of 1986. In view of the number of transmissions that originate from the Sunnyside Yard, the Board believes that this action will reduce the number of transmissions on the radio channel for mainline operations and, consequently, improve the radio communication capability. The Board considers this action an acceptable alternative to the full intent of Safety Recommendation R-85-82, which has now been placed in a "Closed--Acceptable Alternate Action" status. The Board is also pleased to note that Amtrak's monitoring of the existing road channel has indicated that unnecessary radio usage has greatly been reduced and that Amtrak will continue to work with Conrail to eliminate any known radio interference problems.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 4/29/1986
Response: AMTRAK HAS AN ASSIGNMENT OF A RADIO CHANNEL FOR USE AT SUNNYSIDE YARD, NEW YORK. FUNDING HAS BEEN APPROVED AND INSTALLATION WILL BEGIN THE SUMMER OF 1986. MONITORING THE EXISTING ROAD CHANNEL HAS INDICATED THAT "CHATTER" (UNNECESSARY RADIO USAGE) HAS GREATLY BEEN REDUCED. AMTRAK WILL CONTINUE WORKING WITH CONRAIL TO ELIMINATE ANY KNOWN RADIO INTERFERENCE PROBLEMS.

From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 2/19/1986
Response: The Board notes that Amtrak is exploring the possibility of providing a separate radio channel for the New York Sunnyside Yard operation. In this regard, the Board points out that we issued simultaneously a recommendation to the Association of American Railroads to assist Amtrak in obtaining an exclusive radio channel for use in the New York area. The Board would appreciate being informed of Amtrak's efforts in the matter. The Board notes further that Amtrak has taken additional measures to reduce transmissions on the road frequency that do not pertain to train operations and that Amtrak has worked closely with Conrail's Communications Department to eliminate as much interference as possible. The Safety Board is curious to know if Amtrak has noted less congestion on the radio channel as a result of these additional measures. Pending an update en Amtrak's efforts in this area, Safety Recommendation R-85-82 will be held in an "Open--Acceptable Action" status.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 11/4/1985
Response: AMTRAK AGREES WITH THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD THAT THE ROAD CHANNEL USED IN THE NEW YORK AREA FOR TRAIN OPERATIONS DOES, AT TIMES, SUFFER FROM CONGESTION AND WE ARE EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITY OF PROVIDING A SEPARATE RADIO CHANNEL FOR THE NEW YORK SUNNYSIDE YARD OPERATION. AMTRAK IS ALSO TAKING THE FOLLOWING MEASURES TO REDUCE TRANSMISSIONS ON THE ROAD FREQUENCY THAT DO NOT PERTAIN TO TRAIN OPERATIONS: (1) WE ARE REMOVING ALL RADIO CONTROL UNITS THAT ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR TRAIN OPERATIONS; (2) WE ARE INSISTING THAT OUR MAINTENANCE OF WAY, MAINTENANCE OF EQUIPMENT, AND STATION SERVICE PERSONNEL USE THE CHANNELS THAT ARE DESIGNATED FOR THEIR USE; AND (3) WE ARE INTENSIFYING OUR EFFORTS TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF CASUAL AND NONESSENTIAL COMMUNICATION ON THE ROAD CHANNEL THROUGH INCREASED MONITORING AND INSTRUCTION. IN ADDITION, AMTRAK AND CONRAIL COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENTS ARE WORKING CLOSELY TO ELIMINATE AS MUCH INTERFERENCE AS POSSIBLE. CONRAIL HAS MOVED THEIR ROAD CHANNEL TO A SECONDARY ROAD FREQUENCY ON MOST LINES PARALLELING AMTRAK'S NORTHEAST CORRIDOR.