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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-91-025
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 3:13 A.M. EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME, ON 8/9/90, NORTH BOUND NORFOLK SOUTHERN (NS) FREIGHT TRAIN 188 COLLIDED WITH SOUTHBOUND NS LOCAL FREIGHT TRAIN G-38 AT CONTROL POINT DAVIS NEAR SUGAR VALLEY, GEORGIA. THE CONDUCTOR ON TRAIN 188 & THE CONDUCTOR & ENGINEER ON TRAIN G-38 WERE FATALLY INJURED. THE TRAINMEN ON BOTH TRAINS & THE ENGINEER ON TRAIN 188 RECEIVED MINOR INJURIES. DAMAGE WAS ESTIMATED AT $1,268,680.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS AND THE RAILWAY PROGRESS INSTITUTE, EXPAND THE EFFORT NOW BEING MADE TO DEVELOP & INSTALL ADVANCED TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR THE PURPOSE OF POSITIVE TRAIN SEPARA TION.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: SUGAR VALLEY, GA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA90MR008
Accident Reports: Collision and Derailment of Norfolk Southern Train 188 with Norfolk Southern Train G-38
Report #: RAR-91-02
Accident Date: 8/9/1990
Issue Date: 9/16/1991
Date Closed: 11/15/1994
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Positive Train Control

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 10/24/2011
Response: Notation 8351: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), "Positive Train Control Systems," that was published in the Federal Register on August 24, 2011. The NPRM proposes amendments to FRA regulations implementing a provision of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 that mandates that certain passenger and freight railroads implement positive train control (PTC) systems by December 31, 2015. Consistent with statute, the final rule became effective March 16, 2010, and established new regulations requiring each Class I railroad over which (1) poisonous-by-inhalation (PIH) or toxic-by-inhalation (TIH) hazardous materials are transported and (2) regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation travels to implement a PTC system by December 31, 2015. The FRA is seeking further comments on its proposal to amend the regulations by eliminating two qualifying tests-the alternate route analysis and the residual risk analysis-that are required to avoid PTC system implementation on track segments that do not transport PIH and TIH hazardous materials traffic and are not used for intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation as of December 31, 2015. The NTSB has continued to follow the recent litigation between the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the FRA regarding PTC implementation. The NTSB also is aware of Executive Order 13563, issued on January 18, 2011, which requires federal agencies to review significant regulations to determine if they are outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome. Further, Vice Chairman Hart testified before the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives, to affirm our strong support of the significant safety benefits that can be accomplished with implementation of PTC systems on our nation's railroads. The NTSB offers the following comments on this section of the NPRM: Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations 236.1005, "Requirements for Positive Train Control Systems" When the final rule addressing PTC implementation was issued in 2010, the FRA requested additional comments on specific issues. In our previously submitted comments, the NTSB acknowledged the fact that traffic patterns will likely change to some degree before December 31, 2015. These changes in traffic patterns will necessitate appropriately justified adjustments to the track segments on which PTC must be installed. The NTSB believes that the final rule as written provides enough flexibility to railroads, either at the time of initial filing of their PTC Implementation Plans (which has already passed) or through a request for amendment, to subsequently address changes in traffic patterns. In addition to requiring PTC system implementation on railroad lines over which (1) PIH or TIH hazardous materials are transported and (2) regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation travels, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 also requires PTC systems to be implemented on other tracks as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation may prescribe by regulation or order. The NTSB believes the track segments that will be selected for PTC implementation will be reviewed and considered by the FRA in accordance with its discretionary authority. But the NTSB is concerned that by eliminating the requirements for an alternate route analysis and a residual risk analysis as currently required by the final rule in order for railroads to avoid PTC system implementation, the FRA's ability to identify other high-risk corridors will be hampered. The NTSB strongly encourages the FRA to maintain the railroads' current PTC Implementation Plans so that the traveling public, railroad employees, and communities near rail lines receive the maximum safety benefits. The NTSB will continue to monitor and offer safety recommendations as a result of its accident investigations to improve the effectiveness of PTC standards. The NTSB appreciates the opportunity to comment on this NPRM. Should you require any additional information or clarification, please contact us.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 11/15/1994
Response: "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION" IN THE ADOPTION OF THE BOARD'S REPORT ON THE KELSO, WA ACCIDENT.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/24/1994
Response:

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/3/1993
Response:

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 9/16/1993
Response: THE BOARD IS PLEASED THAT THE FRA IS CONDUCTING A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW AND SAFETY INQUIRY CONCERNING ATCS, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE A BRIEFING ON THE RESULTING REPORT AFTER IT HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO CONGRESS. BASED ON YOUR RESPONSE, THE BOARD HAS CLASSIFIED RECOMMENDATIONS R-91-25 AND R-87-16 "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/28/1993
Response: THE 1992 "RAIL SAFETY ENFORCEMENT AND REVIEW ACT" REQUIRES THE FRA TO CONDUCT A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW AND SAFETY INQUIRY ON THE ATCS MATTER. THE EFFORT IS UNDERWAY AND THE RESULTS MUST BE REPORTED TO THE CONGRESS NEXT YEAR. SEVERAL MAJOR RAILROADS ARE BEGINNING INSTALLATION OF THE ATCS COMMUNICATIONS PLATFORM, OR ARE ACTIVELY CONSIDERING INSTALLATION, WITH A VIEW TOWARD USING THIS CAPABILITY IN AID OF INTERLINE SERVICE MANAGEMENT. THE FRA WILL BE EXPLORING POSSIBLE TRIAL APPLICATION OF ATCS ON ONE OR MORE CORRIDORS SELECTED FOR FUNDING UNDER THE PRESIDENT'S HIGH SPEED RAIL GROUND TRANSPORTATION INITIATIVE. WE CURRENTLY WORKING WITH AMTRAK TO IMPLEMENT AN ENHANCED TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEM CAPABLE OF POSTIIVE STOP ENFORCEMENT AND IMPROVED SPEED CONTROL ON THE NORTH END OF THE NE CORRIDOR. THE FRA IS CONTINUING TO WORK TOWARDD DEVELOPMENT OF ANALYTICAL CAPABILITIES THAT WILL PERMIT US TO EVALUATE LINE SEGMENTS FOR PRIORITY APPLICATION OF ADVANCED TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEMS. RESEARCH IS UNDERWAY ON PROCEDURES FOR VALIDATING SOFTWARE THAT MIGHT BE EMPLOYED INVITAL ELEMENTS OF ATCS. FINALLY, WE ARE ENCOURAGING INTERIM USES OF ATCS DATA COMMUNICATIONS TO PROVIDE FOR MORE SECURE TRANSMISSION OF MOVEMENT AUTHORITIES USING ON-BOARD COMPUTER TERMINAL S LINKED TO COMPUTER-AIDED DISPATCHING.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date:
Response: At the 1990 Board meeting addressing the NTSB's Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements (MWL), the Board voted to place Safety Recommendation R-87-16 on the MWL under the issue category "Positive Train Separation." Safety Recommendations R-91-25, R-93-12, R-93-13, and R-97-13 were added to the MWL in this category at later dates. At the May 15, 2001 Board meeting addressing the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements (MWL), the Board voted to place Safety Recommendation R-01-6 on the MWL under this issue category. At the May 15, 2001 meeting, the Board also voted to change the category's title to “Positive Train Control Systems.” This issue was removed from the MWL in 2008.