Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-87-046
Details
Synopsis: AT 4:25 P.M. E.D.T., ON JULY 8, 1986, 15 CARS OF A SOUTH BOUND BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD COMPANY FREIGHT TRAIN CONSISTING OF 44 CARS AND A LOCOMOTIVE, DERAILED WHILE TRAVELING AT 45 MPH NEAR MIAMISBURG, OHIO. THREE OF THE 15 DERAILED CARS WERE TANK CARS CONTAINING YELLOW PHOS PHORUS, MOLTEN SULFUR, AND TALLOW. WHILE DERAILING ON A BRIDGE, THESE TANK CARS WERE EXTENSIVELY DAMAGED, LOST PRODUCT, AND WERE INVOLVED IN THE RESULTING FIRE. APPROX IMATELY 7,000 RESIDENTS FROM A SECTION OF MIAMISBURG WERE INITIALLY EVACUATED AS A SAFETY PRECAUTION. ON THE FOL LOWING DAY AS A WRECKAGE-CLEARING CREW CONTRACTED BY THE RAILROAD WAS PREPARING TO REMOVE THE SMOLDERING PHOSPHORUS TANK CAR, A CONCRETE STRUCTURE SUPPORTING THE TANK CAR COL LAPSED AND SEVERAL HUNDRED GALLONS OF MOLTEN PHOSPHORUS IN SIDE THE TANK CAR ESCAPED AND IGNITED, RESULTING IN AN EX TENSIVE CLOUD OF PHOSPHORUS COMBUSTION EFFLUENTS. DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS, A 3-SQUARE-MILE AREA OF MONTGOMERY COUN TY, OHIO, WAS EVACUATED, FORCING AN ESTIMATED 30,000 PEOPLE TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES AND BUSINESSES; 569 PERSON WERE TREATED FOR VARIOUS COMPLAINTS DURING THE INCIDENT. TOTAL PROPERTY DAMAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY $3,540,000, INCLUDING THE COST OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS CLEANUP.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING THROUGHOUT THE LIFE OF THE TANK CARS, THE PERFORMANCE OF ALL GENERAL AMERICAN TRANSPORTATION CORPORATION TANK CARS MODIFIED TO REMOVE THE ANTI-SHIFT BRACKET WELDED DIRECTLY TO THE TANK TO FACILITATE THE EARLY DETECTION OF ANY FAILURES THAT MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE TANK SHELL THICKNESS HAVING BEEN REDUCED BY THE MODIFICATION PROCESS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Miamisburg, OH, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA86HZ003
Accident Reports: Derailment of CSX Transportation Extra 7614​​Hazardous Materials Release Following the Derailment of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company Train No. SLFR
Report #: HZM-87-01
Accident Date: 7/8/1986
Issue Date: 10/16/1987
Date Closed: 5/15/1992
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 5/15/1992
Response: MEMBERS OF YOUR STAFF AND OUR HAZARDOUS MATERIALS DIVISION STAFF HAVE MET PERIODICALLY TO DISCUSS THE ACTIONS OF THE FRA TO MEET THIS RECOMMENDATION. AT THE MOST RECENT MEETING ON JANUARY 29, 1992, MEMBERS OF YOUR STAFF INDICATED THAT THE FRA WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE ANTISHIFT BRACKETS BY ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING WITH THE AAR TANK CAR COMMITTEE TO IDENTIFY PROBLEMS AND TRENDS AND INITIATING A PROGRAM TO INSPECT ALL AAR-CERTIFIED TANK CAR REPAIR SHOPS AND FACILITIES. AS PART OF THEIR INSPECTION, FRA INSPECTORS WILL REVIEW THE TYPES OF REPAIRS BEING MADE.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/26/1991
Response: THE [SAFETY] BOARD RESPONDED ON FEBRUARY 9, 1990, THAT THEY APPRECIATED THE RESULTS OF THE GATX EXHIBIT R-1 REPORTS. ALSO, THE BOARD SUGGESTED THAT MEMBERS OF THEIR STAFF MEET WITH THE FRA ON THE HM-210B ISSUES. MY STAFF WILL CONTACT YOURS TO ORGANIZE A MEETING DATE TO RESOLVE THIS ISSUE.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 1/8/1991
Response:

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/3/1990
Response: THE FRA REFERENCED THE SAFETY BOARD'S LAST LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 9, 1990, REGARDING THIS RECOMMENDATION. THE FRA STATED THAT THE RECOMMENDATION SHOULD BE CLOSED AS ACCEPTABLE ACTION SUBSEQUENT TO THE MEETING HELD BETWEEN THE FRA AND NTSB STAFFS.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 2/9/1990
Response: Thank you for your response to the National Transportation Safety Board's Safety Recommendation R-87-46. This recommendation requested the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to establish a procedure for evalu-ating, throughout the life of the tank cars, the performance of all General American Transportation Corporation (GATX) tank cars modified to remove the anti-shift bracket welded directly to the tank to facilitate the early detection of any failures that may be associated with the tank shell thickness having been reduced by the modification process. The Safety Board appreciates receiving the results of the FRA's review of the GATX exhibit f1-1 reports, which contained the corrective actions taken for tank cars found to have cracks in the tank shell. In our letter of April 19, 1989, we requested a discussion of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for docket HM-201B which goes beyond the scope of our recom-mendation to include measures to detect defects in all tank cars. We appreciate your suggestion discuss HM-20B. that our respective staff personnel meet to A member of our hazardous materials staff will contact your office to set up a meeting. During this meeting, we would also appreciate discussing the necessity of monitoring the performance of those tank cars found to have cracks. This recommendation will remain in an "Open--Acceptable Action" status pending the outcome of such a discussion.Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/20/1989
Response: I appreciate your recent letter concerning the National Transportation Safety Board's Safety Recommendation R-87-46. The Federal Railroad Administration responded to your request regarding the R-l Exhibit review information by letter dated March 17, 1989, under Safety Recommendation R-85-59. To 'reiterate, our review of General American Transportation Corporation's exhibit R-l reports indicated that: 57 percent of the tank cars were found to have noexceptions in the tank shell; 27 percent of the tank cars were found to have shallow cracks in the tank shell less than l/16 of an inch in depth, which were removed by grinding (HM-201B issue); 8 percent of the tank cars were found to have cracks in the tank shell exceeding l/16 of an inch in depth and less than 3 inches in length, which were repaired by gouging, welding, and grinding smooth; and 8 percent of the tank cars were found to have cracks in the tank shell exceeding l/16 of an inch in depth and greater than three inches in length, which were repaired by gouging, welding, grinding smooth, X-rayed, and stress relieved. All pressure cars were repaired by this method regardless of the length or depth of the exceptions. Concerning Docket HM-201B, representatives of my staff would be pleased to meet with you or your staff to discuss any questions. FRA has taken measures, beyond the original recommendations to detect defects in all tank cars and inspect all jacketed tank cars in hazardous materials service that were equipped with an anti-shift bracket attached in noncompliance with existing regulations. I therefore request that R-87-46 be placed in a "Closed-Acceptable Action" status.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 4/19/1989
Response: We have reviewed your letter in further response to the National Transportation Safety Board's Safety Recommendation R-87-46 concerning railroad tank car safety. In your letter of April 4, 1988, you indicated that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) had issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (HM-201B), which goes beyond the scope of Safety Recommendation R-87-46 to include measures to detect defects in all tank cars, while specifically addressing the concerns of the Board relative to detection of failures of modified General American Transportation Corporation (GATX) tank cars. In our letter of July 26, 1988, the Board expressed its concern with HM-201B, in particular the proposed standard which would permit the use of railroad tank car tanks with shell thickness in localized areas less than the minimum specified in the hazardous materials regulations. This latest response indicates that the FRA is checking each Exhibit R-l report submitted by GATX and that the FRA will continue to monitor the GATX fleet for any signs of tank failure associated with the original application of a noncomplying support bracket. The Safety Board believes that the FRA should continue to implement the intent of Safety Recommendation R-87-46. We again request a discussion of the results of HM-2aB and progress reports on your findings relative to Exhibit R-l reports. Pending further response, Safety Recommendation R-87-46 has been classified as "Open--Acceptable Action."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/10/1989
Response: FRA PROMULGATED RULEMAKING (HM-201 AND HM-201B) BASED ON THE ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS OF THE TSC REPORTS. WE ARE ALSO CHECKING EACH EXHIBIT R-1 REPORT SUBMITTED BY GATX TO DETER MINE IF ANY OF THE 10,000 PLUS TANK CARS ORIGINALLY BUILT IN NONCOMPLIANCE WITH THE DOT HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS HAVE EXPERIENCED ANY TANK FAILURES. WE WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE GATX FLEET FOR ANY SIGNS OF TANK FAILURE ASSOC IATED WITH THE ORIGINAL APPLICATION OF A NONCOMPLYING SUPPORT BRACKET.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 7/26/1988
Response: The Safety Board notes the FRA's statement that you view the subject of this recommendation as a "subset of a broader issue" and that "there is a general need to develop effective periodic inspection techniques...which should be applied to the universe of tank cars..." The Safety Board is in agreement with this assessment and we point out that for that reason we concurrently issued Safety Recommendations R-87-47 through -50. Safety Recommendation R-87-49 specifically, we believe, addresses this "broader issue." You stated in an interim response dated March 15, 1988, that the FRA would be addressing these recommendations in the report of its assessment of the Association of American Railroads' Tank Car Committee's functions and operations. The Board looks forward to reviewing that report upon its completion. Notwithstanding the above comments, the Board remains convinced that the FRA should proceed to implement the intent of Safety Recommendation R-87-46. Based on information received to date, the Board fails to understand how HM-201B will specifically address the concerns of the Board relative to detection of failures of modified GATX tank cars. Moreover, the Board has some serious concerns with this rulemaking activity, in particular the proposed standard which would permit the use of railroad tank car tanks with shell thicknesses in localized areas less than the minimum specified in the Hazardous Materials Regulations. The Board questions the rationale used in developing this proposed standard. Pending publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking and an indication that the FRA is taking action as outlined in Safety Recommendation R-87-46, the recommendation will be held in an "Open--Unacceptable Action" status.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/13/1988
Response:

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/4/1988
Response: WE ARE IN GENERAL AGREEMENT WITH THE RECOMMENDATION, ALTHOUGH WE SEE IT AS A SUBSET OF A BROADER ISSUE. THERE IS A GENERAL NEED TO DEVELOP EFFECTIVE PERIODIC INSPECTION TECHNIQUES FOR PITTING, LINING FLAWS, AND SIMILAR CONDITIONS (INCLUDING CRACKING ASSOCIATED WITH TANK CAR REPAIRS). AND THOSE TECHNIQUES SHOULD BE APPLIED TO THE UNIVERSE OF TANK CARS, NOT SIMPLY THE CARS INVOLVED IN THE GATX RETROFIT. PRIOR TO THE BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS, FRA INITIATED A SERIES OF RESEARCH ACTIVITIES CRAFTED TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES, AS WELL AS THE SO-CALLED "THIN LINING" ISSUE WHICH AROSE FOLLOWING THE GATX REPAIRS. ON AUGUST 29, 1985, THE FRA CONTRACTED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS CENTER (TSC) TO CONSIDER THREE ELEMENTS OF RISK ASSOCIATED WITH UNDETECTED FATIGUE CRACK GROWTH FOLLOWING TANK CAR REPAIRS. IN ADDITION, THE TASK FORCE WAS ASKED TO EVALUATE WHETHER LOCALLY REDUCED TANK CAR SHELL THICKNESSES, EITHER BY GRINDING OR BY THE PRESENCE OF A CRACK, WOULD CORRESPONDINGLY REDUCE THE BURST PRESSURE AND SAFETY MARGIN OF A TANK CAR. BASED ON THE ANALYSES AND CONCLUSIONS OF TSC'S REPORT, THE FRA PROMULGATED AN ADVANCED NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING (HM-201) ON DECEMBER 8, 1987, (52 FR 46510), SOLICITING COMMENTS ON PERIODIC INSPECTION TECHNIQUES FOR THE DETECTION OF PITS, CORROSION, LINING FLAWS, AND OTHER DEFECTS, INCLUDING CRACKS ASSOCIATED WITH TANK CAR REPAIRS. IN ADDITION, WE ISSUED A NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING (NPRM) (HM-201B) PROPOSING TWO SAFETY STANDARDS. FIRST, THE STANDARDS WOULD PERMIT THE USE OF RAILROAD TANK CAR TANKS WITH SHELL THICKNESSES IN LOCALIZED AREAS LESS THAN THE MINIMUM SPECIFIED IN THE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS. SECOND, THE STANDARDS WOULD REQUIRE THE MEASUREMENT OF TANK CAR TANK SHELL THICKNESSES UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS. THE RESEARCH AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS ADMINISTRATION (RSPA) EXTENDED THE COMMENT PERIOD TO MAY 13, 1988, (53 FR 4862, FEBRUARY 18, 1988) AFTER RECEIVING PETITIONS REQUESTING SUCH AN EXTENSION. WE ANTICIPATE THAT THESE COMMENTS WILL PROVIDE NONDESTRUCTIVE INSPECTION TECHNIQUES THAT WILL SUPPLEMENT CURRENT PERIODIC HYDROSTATIC RETEST REQUIREMENTS AND, IN ESSENCE, PROVIDE THROUGHOUT THE LIFE OF ALL TANK CARS THE EARLY DETECTION OF ANY FAILURES. THE RSPA AND FRA STAFFS ARE CURRENTLY REVIEWING COMMMENTS RECEIVED AND ANTICIPATE PUBLICATION OF AN NPRM, FOLLOWING THE CLOSING OF THE COMMENT PERIOD. HM-201B GOES BEYOND THE SCOPE OF NTSB RECOMMENDATION 87-46 TO INCLUDE MEASURES TO DETECT DEFECTS IN ALL TANK CARS, WHILE SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSING THE CONCERNS OF THE BOARD RELATIVE TO DETECTION OF FAILURES OF MODIFIED GATX TANK CARS. HAVING TAKEN THESE APPROPRIATE STEPS, FRA REQUESTS THAT SAFETY RECOMMENDATION R-87-46 BE PLACED IN AN "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE ACTION" STATUS.