Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-87-062
Details
Synopsis: ON OCTOBER 9, 1986, EASTBOUND NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK) PASSENGER TRAIN 8 DERAILED IN FALL RIVER, WISCONSIN. EACH OF THE FREIGHT TRAINS PRECEDING TRAIN 8 RECEIVED INFORMATION THAT PREPARED THEM EITHER TO CROSS OVER FROM ONE TRACK TO ANOTHER AT FALL RIVER BECAUSE OF TRACK WORK IN THE AREA OR TO STOP AT FALL RIVER FOR IN STRUCTIONS. HOWEVER, THE ENGINEER OF TRAIN 8 DID NOT HAVE ANY ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OR TRAIN ORDER TO INDICATE THAT HIS TRAIN WAS TO CROSS OVER FROM THE EASTWARD TO THE WESTWARD TRACK IN FALL RIVER. AS A RESULT, TRAIN 8 ENTERED THE CROSSOVER AT 70 MPH AND THE LOCOMOTIVE UNITS OVERTURNED. THE AUTHORIZED SPEED FOR THE CROSSOVER WAS 10 MPH. TWO LOCOMOTIVE UNITS AND 10 PASSENGER CARS DERAILED; THE FIREMAN WAS KILLED, TWO CREWMEMBERS WERE INJURED SERIOUSLY, AND TWO RECEIVED MODERATE INJURIES. OF THE 215 PASSENGERS ON BOARD, 26 WERE INJURED.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE SOO LINE RAILROAD: IN COOPERATION WITH THE NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK) EQUIP ALL MAIN LINE SWITCHES ON ROUTES USED BY AMTRAK PASSENGER TRAINS WITH ELECTRIC LOCKS TO PROHIBIT THE OPERATION OF THE SWITCH AFTER A TRAIN HAS PASSED THE LAST SIGNAL BEFORE A CROSSOVER.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: FALL RIVER, WI, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA87MR001
Accident Reports: Derailment of Amtrak Passenger Train 8 Operating on the Soo Line Railroad
Report #: RAR-87-05
Accident Date: 10/9/1986
Issue Date: 2/8/1988
Date Closed: 6/20/1995
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company) (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company)
Date: 6/20/1995
Response: THE BOARD UNDERSTANDS THAT CENTRALIZED TRAFFIC CONTROL (CTC) HAS BEEN INSTALLED ON 86 PRECENT OF THE CP RAIL SYSTEM TRACKAGE USED BY AMTRAK & THAT THE INSTALLATION PROGRAM WILL CONTINUE. IN ADDITION, PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE OF R-87-62 REVEALS THAT SOO CHANGED IS OPERATING RULES AFTER THE ACCIDENT TO PROHIBIT OPERATION OF THE SWITCH AFTER A TRAIN PASSES THE LAST SIGNAL BEFORE A CROSSING. THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT APPLICATION OF THIS RULE CHANGE CONSTITUTES AN ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE ACTION TO PROTEST TRAINS WHILE CTC INSTALLATION IS UNDER WAY. BASED ON THIS INFO R-87-62 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE ACTION."

From: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company)
To: NTSB
Date: 3/23/1995
Response: MR. P.A. PENDER VICE PRESIDENT & CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER HEAVY HAUL - US CP RAIL SYSTEM STATED THAT CURRENTLY 68% OF THE TRACKAGE OPERATED ON BY AMTRAK IS COVERED BY CTC & THAT, WITH THE FUTURE CONSTRUCTION, THE PERCENTAGE WILL BE ULTIMATELY 95% OF THE 419 MILES.

From: NTSB
To: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company)
Date: 7/12/1989
Response:

From: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company)
To: NTSB
Date: 2/16/1989
Response: THE SOO LINE IS PROCEEDING ON A PLAN TO INSTALL CENTRALIZED TRAFFIC CONTROL BETWEEN HASTINGS, MN AND MILWAUKEE, WI WHICH WILL RESULT IN MAIN TRACK SWITCHES BEING EITHER REMOTELY CONTROLLED OR HANE OPERATED PROTECTED WITH AN ELECTRIC LOCK. WE ARE PROCEEDING ON SCHEDULE WITH THIS PROJECT, AND I AM PLEASED TO INFORM YOU THAT OF THE 406 MILES ON WHICH AMTRAK OPERATES, 154 MILES CONTAINING MAIN TRACK SWITCHES ARE EITHER REMOTELY CONTROLLED ARE HAND OPERATED PROTECTED WITH AN ELECTRIC LOCK. BY YEAR'S END THIS MILEAGE SHOULD INCREASE TO 215 MILES, OR APPROXIMATELY 53% OF THE TRACK OPERATED BY AMTRAK, AND WILL CONFORM TO THE NTSB SAFETY RECOMMENDATION R-87-62.

From: NTSB
To: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company)
Date: 12/20/1988
Response:

From: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company)
To: NTSB
Date: 8/30/1988
Response: NOT ONLY HAS SOO LINE EMBARKED ON A PROGRAM TO CONVERT FROM HAND OPERATED CROSSOVER SWITCHES TO DUAL CONTROLLED SWITCHES AND SWITCHES EQUIPPED WITH ELECTRIC LOCKS AS THE COMPANY'S CTC LINES ARE EXTENDED, WE HAVE IMPLEMENTED PROCEDURES REQUIRING THAT HAND OPERATED CROSSOVER SWITCHES BE OPERATED SUFFICIENTLY IN ADVANCE TO GIVE AN APPROACH SIGNAL INDICA TION OF THE CONDITION, YELLOW ASPECT, AND A RESTRICTED PROCEED INDICATION, RED ASPECT ON A BLOCK SIGNAL EQUIPPED WITH A NUMBER PLATE. IF APPROPRIATE SIGNAL INDICATIONS ARE NOT POSSIBLE, THE APPROACHING TRAIN MUST BE BROUGHT TO A STOP BEFORE ANY HAND OPERATED SWITCHES ARE ALIGNED. ADDI TIONALLY, OUR CURRENT INSTRUCTIONS REQUIRE THAT A SWITCH ON THE TRACK TO BE ENTERED MUST BE LINED FIRST AND THE SWITCH ON THE TRACK TO BE DEPARTED, LINED SECOND.

From: NTSB
To: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company)
Date: 7/25/1988
Response:

From: NTSB
To: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company)
Date: 6/2/1988
Response:

From: Canadian Pacific Railway (Soo Line Railway Company)
To: NTSB
Date: 5/9/1988
Response: AMTRAK PRESENTLY OPERATES ITS PASSENGER TRAINS BETWEEN CHICAGO UNION STATION (CHICAGO, ILLINOIS) AND MIDWAY STATION (ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA). A PORTION OF THIS ROUTE IS GOVERNED BY CENTRALIZED TRAFFIC CONTROL (CTC). TRAIN OPERATION ON THE REMAINING PORTION OF THE ROUTE IS GOVERNED BY AUTOMATIC BLOCK SIGNAL SYSTEM (ABS). THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF MILES OF DOUBLE TRACK ABS TERRITORY WITHIN THE UNITED STATES AND ELECTRIC LOCKS, WE FEEL, ARE UNNECESSARY FOR THE SAFETY OR EFFICIENCY IN OPERATION. FOLLOWING THE DERAILMENT OF AMTRAK #8 AT FALL RIVER, WISCONSIN, RULE 104A OF THE GENERAL CODE OF OPERATING RULES WHICH GOVERNS THE HAND OPERATION OF SWITCHES WAS AMENDED TO PREVENT THE DELAYED OPERATION OF SWITCHES. THE AMENDED VERSION OF RULE 104A IS FOUND IN THE CURRENT TIMETABLE, NO. 4, EFFECTIVE 3:01 A.M., OCTOBER 5, 1987. RULE 104A AMENDED READS: WHEN EMPLOYEE IS ON DUTY FOR THE PURPOSE OF HANDLING SWITCHES FOR CROSSOVER MOVEMENTS, THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURE SHALL BE ADHERED TO: 1) MAIN TRACK CROSSOVER SWITCHES MUST NOT BE LINED FOR CROSSOVER MOVEMENT UNTIL ADVISED BY THE TRAIN DISPATCHER. 2) CROSSOVER SWITCHES SHOULD BE LINED SUFFICIENTLY IN ADVANCE TO AFFORD BLOCKED SIGNAL PROTECTION. THE APPROACHING TRAIN SHOULD BE GIVEN A "RESTRICTED PROCEED" SIGNAL PRECEDED BY AN "APPROACH" INDICATION. IF THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE, SWITCH TENDER MUST COMMUNICATE WITH THE ENGINEER OF THE APPROACHING TRAIN AND DETERMINE ITS LOCATION BEFORE CAUSING SIGNAL TO CHANGE TO "RESTRICTED PROCEED". WHEN NOT POSSIBLE TO AFFORD BLOCK SIGNAL PROTECTION IN THIS MANNER, SWITCHES SHALL NOT BE LINED UNTIL TRAIN HAS STOPPED SHORT OF CROSSOVER. 3) WHEN LINING CROSSOVER SWITCHES, THE SWITCH ON THE TRACK TO BE ENTERED MUST BE LINED FIRST. THE SWITCH ON THE TRACK TO BE LEFT MUST BE LINED LAST. WITH THE MODIFICATIONS THAT WERE MADE TO RULE 104, A SWITCH MUST NOT BE OPERATED FOR CROSSOVER MOVEMENTS UNTIL ADVISED BY THE DISPATCHER, AND THEN SUFFICIENTLY IN ADVANCE OF THE TRAIN, TO GIVE THE TRAIN A RESTRICTING SIGNAL TO THE SWITCH. IF THIS CANNOT BE DONE, THEN SWITCHES MUST NOT BE OPERATED UNTIL THE TRAIN COMES TO A STOP SHORT OF THE CROSSOVER. ONE ADDITIONAL RULE FOUND IN THE GENERAL CODE OF OPERATING RULES THAT GOVERNS THE ENTERING OF A MAIN TRACK AT HAND OPERATED OR SPRING SWITHES IS RULE 317. RULE 317 READS: WITHIN CTC TERRITORY, MANUAL INTERLOCKING LIMITS OR TERRITORY WHERE RULE S-250 OR RULE 252 IS AUTHORIZED, TRAIN MAY ENTER THE MAIN TRACK AT HAND OPERATED OR SPRING SWITCHES WHERE THERE IS NO GOVERNING SIGNAL, ONLY ON AUTHORITY OF CONTROL OPERATOR. CONTROL OPERATION MUST ASCERTAIN THAT THERE ARE NO CONFLICTING MOVEMENTS BEFORE GRANTING SUCH AUTHORITY. IN OTHER TERRITORY WITHIN BLOCK SYSTEM LIMITS, CREW MEMBER OR SWITCH TENDER MUST OPEN SWITCH AND WAIT 5 MINUTES AT THE SWITCH TO ESTABLISH BLOCK SIGNAL PROTECTION BEFORE THE TRAIN ENTERS MAIN TRACK. THE 5 MINUTE WAIT IS NOT REQUIRED: 1) WHEN SWITCH IS EQUIPPED WITH AN ELECTRIC LOCK. 2) WHERE BLOCK OCCUPANCY INDICATOR INDICATES BLOCK CLEAR. 3) WHEN BLOCK SIGNAL GOVERNING MOVEMENT TO MAIN TRACK DISPLAYS A PROCEED INDICATION. 4) WHEN SIGNALS GOVERNING MOVEMENT ON MAIN TRACK INDICATE NO TRAIN IS APPROACHING FROM EITHER DIRECTION. 5) WHERE BLOCK TO BE ENTERED IS OCCUPIED BY A TRAIN, ENGINE OR CAR, EITHER STANDING OR MOVING AWAY FROM SWITCH TO BE USED. 6) OUTSIDE YARD LIMITS WHEN ENTERING A MAIN TRACK FOR MOVEMENT AGAINST THE CURRENT OF TRAFFIC. ADHERING TO THE PROVISIONS STATED IN RULE 317 AND ALSO TO RULE 104A, AS AMENDED, WE FEEL IT MAKES IT UNNECESSARY TO EQUIP ALL MAIN LINE SWITCHES WITH ELECTRIC LOCKS. HOWEVER, THE SOO LINE IS IN A 5-YEAR PROGRAM TO CONVERT VIRTUALLY ALL OF THE DOUBLE TRACK APS TERRITORY TO SINGLE TRACK CTC AND HAND OPERATED CROSSOVER SWITCHES WILL EITHER BE DUAL CONTROLLED SWITCHES OR WILL BE EQUIPPED WITH THE ELECTRIC LOCKS.