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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-91-031
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 ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS: IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE RAILWAY PROGRESS INSTITUTE & THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION, EXPAND THE EFFORT NOW BEING MADE TO DEVELOP & INSTALL ADVANCED TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR THE PURPOSE OF POSITIVE TRAIN SEPARATION.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Reconsidered
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: 5/13/1998
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Association of American Railroads (Closed - Reconsidered)
Keyword(s): Positive Train Control

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
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: Association of American Railroads
Date: 5/13/1998
Response: BASED ON YOUR RESPONSE, THE BOARD HAS DETERMINED THAT THE AAR IS NOT IN A POSITION TO EITHER ESTABLISH OR IMPLEMENT A PTS CONTROL SYSTEM FOR THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY & THAT THE FRA & THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT & IMPLEMENTATION OF PTS TECHNOLOGY. BASED ON THAT DETERMINATION, R-91-31 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--RECONSIDERED."

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 10/10/1997
Response: M. B. OGLESBY, JR, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF AAR RESPONDED ON 10/10/97, THAT AAR FEELS THAT THIS RECOMMENDATION APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN SUPERSEDED WITHIN THE SILVER SPRING INVESTIGATION REPORT R-97-39 THROUGH -42.

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 2/11/1992
Response: Thank you for your December 18, 1991, letter concerning Safety Recommendation R-91-31. Safety Recommendation R-91-31 urged the Association of American Railroads (AAR), in conjunction with the Railway Progress Institute (RPI) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), to expand the effort now being malde to develop and install advanced train control systems (ATCS) for the purpose of positive train separation. The National Transportation Safety Board is pleased to learn that the AAR actively supports the design and development of ATCS and that the AAR will work with the RPI and the supply industry to implement ATCS, keeping the FRA informed of any progress made. The Safety Board has learned that several carriers have ATCS projects and that at least one carrier has a program ready for full implementation. The Safety Board would appreciate receiving any information you have about the program level of other carriers. We note your offer of a staff meeting to discuss ATCS development, and you can expect a member of our staff to be in touch with you shortly. Based on your efforts, the Safety Board has classified Safety Recommendation R-91-31 as "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 12/18/1991
Response: PRESIDENT DEMPSEY STATED THAT AAR AND ITS MEMBER ROADS ACTIVELY SUPPORT THE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF ATCS AND THAT THERE HAS BEEN SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS MADE IN THE PAST YEAR REFINING THE SYSTEM LOGIC OR CONTROL FLOW SPECIFICATIONS WHICH WILL IMPROVE THE CAPABILITY OF ATCS TO PERFORM TRAIN CONTROL APPLIATION AS INTENDED. HE FURTHER STATED THAT THEY ARE WORKING CLOSELY WITH FRA TO ASSURE THAT THEIR CONCERNS ARE ADDRESSED. THE AAR WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP AND REFINE SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE SYSTEM LOGIC. THEY INTEND TO WORK CLOSELY WITH RPI ALSO. THEY CLOSED BY INVITING BOARD REPRESENTATIVES TO MEET WITH THEIR STAFF TO DISCUSS ATCS DEVELOPMENT.

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 9/10/1991
Response: