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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-88-082
Details
Synopsis: ON NOVEMBER 12, 1987, NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK)/MASSACHUSETTS BAY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (MBTA) COMMUTER TRAIN 8110 WAS STANDING PARTIALLY BERTHED AT THE BACK BAY STATION PLATFORM IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, WHEN IT WAS STRUCK FROM THE REAR BY AMTRAK/MBTA COMMUTER TRAIN 8114.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION: EVALUATE THOROUGHLY ALL POSSIBLE MEANS OF MODIFYING THE CURRENT AUTOMATIC TRAIN CONTROL (SPEED CONTROL) SYSTEM USED ON LOCOMOTIVES ON THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TO ELIMINATE THE FEATURES OF THE SYSTEM THAT MAY PERMIT AN ENGINEER TO OPERATE A TRAIN BY A STOP ASPECT OF A WAYSIDE SIGNAL.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: BOSTON, MA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA88MR002
Accident Reports: Rear-End Collision of Amtrak Massachusettes Bay Transportation Authority Commuter Trains
Report #: RAR-88-05
Accident Date: 11/12/1987
Issue Date: 11/29/1988
Date Closed: 4/4/1995
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Positive Train Control

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 4/4/1995
Response: THE BOARD HAS LEARNED THROUGH STAFF CONTACTS THAT AMTRAK HAS COMPLETED A THOROUGH EXAMINATION OF THE SPEED CONTROL SYSTEM IN USE ON THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR & RECOMMENDED EXPANSION OF THE CAB SIGNAL SYSTEM FROM FOUR TO NINE ASPECTS. BECAUSE AMTRAK HAS COMPLETED THE SYSTEM EVALUATION, THE BOARD HAS CLASSIFIED R-88-82 "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 10/13/1994
Response: NONE- THROUGH STAFF CONTRACT ON 10/13/94, AMTRAK FURNISHED A COPY OF THE RESULTS OF THE EVALUATION PERFORMED IN RESPONSE TO THIS RECOMMENDATION.

From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 9/5/1990
Response: Safety Recommendation R-88-82 recommended that Amtrak evaluate thoroughly all possible means of modifying the current automatic train control (speed control) system used in locomotives in the Northeast Corridor to eliminate the features of the system that may permit an engineer to operate a train by a stop aspect of a wayside signal. Thank you for the commitment to keep the Safety Board informed on the progress of implementing this recommendation. It will remain in an "Open--Acceptable Response" status pending your further response.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 6/6/1990
Response: WE ARE PLEASED THAT THIS RECOMMDATION IS IN AN OPEN ACCEPTABLE ACTION STATUS AND WILL INFORM YOU AS PROGRESS IS MADE IN THIS LONG-TERM EVALUATION PROCESS.

From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 5/11/1990
Response: Safety Recommendation R-88-82 states that Amtrak should evaluate thoroughly all possible means of modifying the current automatic train control (speed control) system used on locomotives on the Northeast Corridor to eliminate the features of the system that may permit an engineer to operate a train by a stop aspect of a wayside signal. The Safety Board notes that Amtrak is continuing this evaluation. However, to prevent this process from continuing indefinitely, the Safety Board would appreciate regular periodic updates regarding what has been learned. Safety Recommendation R-88-82 remains classified as "Open--Acceptable Action."

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 2/28/1990
Response: The review of state-of-the-art automatic train control systems for locomotives on the Northeast Corridor is an ongoing process with important long-term implications. While we have no additional information to offer at this time, be assured we are continuing this evaluation process.

From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 1/4/1990
Response: Safety Recommendation A-88-82 states that Amtrak should evaluate thoroughly all possible m ans of modifying the current automatic train control (speed control) system used on locomotives on the Northeast Corridor to eliminate the features of the system that may permit an engineer to operate a train by a stop aspect f a wayside signal. As Amtrak is continuing this evaluation, Safety Recommendation A-88-82 remains classified as "Open--Acceptable Action."

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 8/22/1989
Response: WITH REGARD TO SAFETY RECOMMENDATION R-88-82 AMTRAK IS CONTINUING TO INDEPENDANTLY EXPLORE THE POSSIBLE APPLICATION OF AUTOMATIC TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY TO OUR OPERA TIONS.

From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 7/14/1989
Response: With regard to Safety Recommendation R-88-82, the Safety Board is aware of the progress made by !the North American railroad industry in developing Advanced Train Control S stems (ATCS). It is this awareness that led the Safety Board to recommend that Amtrak " evaluate thoroughly all possible means…" by which the current ATC system could be modified to provide for a positive stop for trains approaching a stop signal or an occupied block. We encourage you to continue to explore the ATCS technology. We will hold Safety Recommendation R-88-82 in'an "Open--Acceptable Action" status pending further reports on your explorations of potential ATCS applications to the Northeast Corridor.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 1/6/1989
Response: AMTRAK AND ALL OF ITS CONTRACT CARRIERS OPERATING IN THE NEC ARE IN THE PROCESS OF EQUIPPING ALL LOCOMOTIVES OPERATING ON THE CORRIDOR WITH ATC SYSTEMS BY THE FRA IMPLEMENTATION DATES OF APRIL 1 AND JULY 1, 1990. THE ATC SYSTEM BEING INSTALLED, AS WELL AS THOSE PRESENTLY IN SERVICE, DO NOT ENFORCE A POSITIVE STOP ON TRAINS APPROACHING A STOP SIGNAL OR OCCUPIED BLOCK AS LONG AS THE ENGINEER HAS SATISFIED THE SYSTEM BY REDUCING TO AND MAINTAINING A SPEED OF 20 MPH OR LESS. AMTRAK IS AWARE OF THE PROGRESS OF THOSE U.S. AND CANADIAN REALROADS DEVELOPING THE ADVANCED TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEM (ACTS). AMTRAK IS INDEPENDENTLY EXPLORING THE APPLI CATION OF ATCS TECHNOLOGY AND IS INVESTIGATING BOTH GROUND BASED AND SATELLITE SYSTEMS. WE WILL CONTINUE TO EXPLORE THE POSSIBLE APPLICATION OF ATCS TECHNOLOGY AS THAT SYSTEM IS DEVELOPED. WE WILL CONSIDER ITS APPLICATION ON THE NEC WHEN IT CAN BE SHOWN TO DEPENDABLY PROVIDE OPERATING BENEFITS AND SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH TO JUS TIFY THE SUBSTANTIAL CAPITAL INVESTMENT THAT WOULD BE REQUIRED.