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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-87-051
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: COORDINATE A FORMAL ARRANGEMENT WITH THE CANADIAN TRANSPORT COMMISSION FOR ROUTINELY EXCHANGING INFORMATION ON THE PERFORMANCE OF TANK CARS, FOR MEETING TO DISCUSS COMMON SAFETY CONCERNS RELATED TO THE DESIGN, MANUFACTURE,RETROFIT, AND USE OF TANK CARS, AND FOR ESTABLISHING CONTROLS FOR AND THE OVERSIGHT OF THE DELEGATED AUTHORITIES FOR TANK CAR SAFETY.
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: 7/12/1989
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 7/12/1989
Response: We have reviewed your letter in response to the National Transportation Safety Board's Safety Recommendation R-87-51 concerning the establishment of a formal agreement between the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Canadian Transport Commission to exchange information on the performance of tank cars. The Safety Board appreciates receivig a copy of the report of the cooperative program review meeting concerning R&D cooperation held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on June 8, 1988. Furthermore, we note that Appendix 3.3, Rail Working Group, indicates that there is an active exchange of information between the two countries in the field of tank car research. The Safety Board is disappointed that the National Transportation Agency did not participate in the meetings and take the opportunity to discuss their views relative to tank car design, manufacture, and retrofit. Based on the FRA's response to our request for additional information on this recommendation, R-87-51 has been classified as "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/17/1989
Response: ON JUNE 8, 1988, TRANSPORT CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION HELD THEIR COOPERATIVE PROGRAM REVIEW MEETING IN OTTAWA, CANADA. ENCLOSED IS A JOINT REPORT PREPARED BY TRANSPORT CANADA AND THE DOT WHICH COVERED EIGHT AGENDA ITEMS AND SOME 25 TO 30 JOINT PROJECTS BETWEEN THE TWO AGENCIES. THE AAR TANK CAR COMMITTEE HAD INVITED REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE NTA TO ATTEND NOT ONLY THE SEPT. 1988 MEETING, BUT ANY OF THE FOUR ANNUAL MEETINGS CONDUCTED EACH YEAR. NTA DID NOT ATTEND EITHER THE SEPT. 1988 OR THE JAN. 1989 MEETINGS.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 6/28/1988
Response: The Safety Board appreciates the detailed discussion regarding the various exchanges of communication that exist between the U.S. Department of Transportation and its Canadian counterparts. While it appears that there is indeed an active exchange of information between the two countries, the Board is concerned with your statement that this system of communications has worked to the common satisfaction of both countries. As we stated in our report of the Miamisburg accident, the National Transportation Agency (NTA) (formerly the Canadian Transport Commission) representative participating in the Safety Board's review of the tank car safety programs expressed the NTA's belief that the interface among the NTA, the FRA, and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) should be formalized and strengthened to identify and resolve common safety problems associated with tank cars. Further, in its February 26, 1987, resolution to the NTA, the Canadian Immediate Response to Railway Accidents Technical Experts supported the view that increased cooperation among the NTA, the FRA, and the AAR was necessary for improving tank car safety. The Board does note, however, that your response suggests that some steps have been taken toward this goal. Your response indicates that the formal agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada was amended on May 29, 1986, to initiate a joint research project on freight car safety technology with specific emphasis on tank car design and hazardous material transportation. The Board would appreci;dte more detailed information regarding this research project, particularly as it may relate to the Board's recommendation. We note also that at the FRA's request, the AAR Tank Car Committee (TCC) has invited representatives of the NTA to participate in the next annual meeting of the AAR/TCC, scheduled for September 1988, to discuss regulatory issues, accident investigation data, and exchange data research being conducted by the parties. This would appear to be an excellent forum and opportunity for all parties to discuss their respective concerns regarding tank car design, manufacture, and retrofit and the oversight of the delegated authorities for tank car safety. While the FRA considers the Board's comments, we will hold Safety Recommendation R-87-51 in an "Open--Acceptable Action" status. Your efforts to respond to our safety recommendation are appreciated.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/20/1988
Response: FRA IS IN FULL AGREEMENT WITH THE BOARD'S VIEWS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING AN ONGOING EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION WITH OUR CANADIAN COUNTERPARTS, NOT ONLY ON TANK CAR ISSUES, BUT ON ALL SAFETY ISSUES. TO BE EFFECTIVE, THAT COOPERATION MUST ENCOMPASS NOT ONLY THE CTC (NOW THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION AGENCY) BUT OUR COUNTERPARTS IN THE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION, WHICH CONTINUES TO PLAY AN INDEPENDENT ROLE IN CANADA'S SAFETY POLICY MAKING. FOR PRECISELY THE REASONS THAT MOTIVATED THIS RECOMMENDATION, THEN-DEPUTY TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY JIM BURNLEY AND HIS CANADIAN COUNTERPART, RAMSEY WITHERS, MET IN TORONTO IN THE SUMMER OF 1983 TO DEFINE STRUCTURES FOR COMMUNICATIONS THAT HAS SERVED BOTH PARTIES WELL OVER THE PAST FOUR-AND-A-HALF YEARS. IN SOME CASES THE SYSTEM IS FORMAL, GOVERNED BY A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU); IN OTHERS IT IS INTENTIONALLY INFORMAL, TYPIFIED BY THE KINDS OF DAILY CONTACTS THAT ARISE BETWEEN AGENCIES WITH A HISTORY OF COMMON DEALING. IT IS, IN SHORT, THE PRODUCT OF YEARS OF PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE IN DEALING JOINTLY WITH ISSUES THAT CROSS OUR COMMON BORDER, AND IT HAS WORKED TO OUR COMMON SATISFACTION. THE PRINCIPLE ELEMENTS OF THAT RELATIONSHIP ARE AS FOLLOWS: 1. FORMAL AGREEMENT: SINCE 1970, RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND TRANSPORT CANADA HAVE BEEN GOVERNED BY A FORMAL MOU. IN RELEVANT PART, THAT MOU COMMITS BOTH NATIONS TO A PROGRAM OF COOPERATIVE RESEARCH ON TRANSPORTATION SAFETY ISSUES. ON MAY 29, 1986, THE AGREEMENT WAS AMENDED TO INITIATE A JOINT RESEARCH PROJECT ON FREIGHT CAR SAFETY TECHNOLOGY, WITH SPECIFIC EMPHASIS ON TANK CAR DESIGN AND HAZARDOUS MATERIAL TRANSPORTATION. AN ONGOING EXCHANGE OF DATA DEVELOPED IN ACCIDENT INVESTIGATIONS IS AN INHERENT PART OF THAT EFFORT. 2. US CANADA PARLIAMENTARY EXCHANGE: AGENCY HEADS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION MEET ANNUALLY WITH THEIR CANADIAN COUNTERPARTS TO REVIEW SAFETY INITIATIVES, DISCUSS DATA DEVELOPED IN ACCIDENT INVESTIGATIONS, AND REVIEW AND REFINE STRUCTURES FOR ONGOING DATA EXCHANGE BETWEEN OUR AGENCIES. THE MEETING NORMALLY LASTS TWO TO THREE DAYS, ALTERNATING BETWEEN AN AMERICAN AND CANADIAN SITE. THE FIFTH ANNUAL MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 1988 IN OTTAWA, CANADA. 3. AAR/TCC ACTIVITY: AT FRA'S INSISTENCE, THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS TANK CAR COMMITTEE HAS INVITED REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NTA TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ANNUAL AAR/TCC MEETING TO DISCUSS REGULATORY ISSUES, ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION DATA, AND EXCHANGE DATA RESEARCH BEING CONDUCTED BY THE PARTIES. THE NEXT MEETING OF THE AAR/TCC IS SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 1988 IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. 4. INFORMAL CONTACTS: FRA OFFICE OF SAFETY STAFF ARE IN CONTACT WITH NTA STAFF THREE TO FOUR TIMES EACH WEEK TO EXCHANGE DATA ON ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES AND ACCIDENT INVESTIGATIONS. THIS CONTACT IS SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE ONGOING CONTACT BETWEEN RSPA AND NTA OFFICIALS ON JOINT HAZARDOUS MATERIAL REGULATIONS. THIS NETWORK OF ONGOING CONTACTS WAS CREATED TO ADDRESS, ON THE BROAD RANGE OF SAFETY ISSUES, THE PRECISE OBJECTIVES THAT UNDERLIE RECOMMENDATION R-87-51. IT HAS WORKED TO THE SATISFACTION OF BOTH COUNTRIES, AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE REFINED AS NECESSARY AT THE ANNUAL US-CANADA PARLIAMENTARY EXCHANGE. SINCE THE ISSUES RAISED IN THIS RECOMMENDATION HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED, WE BELIEVE THAT SAFETY RECOMMENDATION R-87-51 SHOULD BE PLACED IN "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION" STATUS.