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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-91-032
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 RAILWAY PROGRESS INSTITUTE: IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION & THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS, EXPAND THE EFFORT NOW BEING MADE TO DEVELOP & INSTALL ADVANCED TRAIN CONTROL SYS TEMS FOR THE PURPOSE OF POSITIVE TRAIN SEPARATION.
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: 1/5/2001
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Railway Progress Institute, Inc. (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Positive Train Control

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Railway Progress Institute, Inc.
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: Railway Progress Institute, Inc.
Date: 1/5/2001
Response: In response to Safety Recommendation R-91-32, the RPI indicates it has actively worked with the FRA’s Rail Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) Positive Train Control Working Group. This working group assisted in the report to Congress on positive train control systems. The RPI indicates it will continue to work with the FRA to develop rules and regulations to advance the introduction of new technologies. Additionally, the RPI will continue to attend workshops and meetings that address PTC. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-91-32 is classified “Closed—Acceptable Action.”

From: Railway Progress Institute, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 8/30/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 09/01/2000 2:50:32 PM MC# 2001206 RPI, through its Committee on Train Control Technologies, continues to assist the federal government and the railroad industry as the technologies known as positive train control (PTC) continue to evolve. RPI representatives actively participated in both task forces formed by the FRA Rail Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) PTC Working Group. They were instrumental in helping develop the RSAC report on implementation of Positive Train Control Systems, which has been delivered to the Administration and to Congress. RPI members continue to work with the FRA as it develops new rules and regulations which will help the introduction of new technology, while ensuring that the next generation systems maintain at least the same level of safety as existing systems. RPI representatives continue to work with AAR as that organization develops industry standards needed to install PTC and related technologies. RPI members have supported all of the workshops sponsored by the North American Joint Positive Train Control Project and have presented many papers at those workshops regarding Positive Train Control Systems. RPI members also support the Wayside Communications Task Force (WCTF). On specific PTC technologies and installations, RPI member Han-non Industries is installing its ITCS technology in conjunction with Amtrak and the state of Michigan on an Amtrak line in Michigan. Alstom Signaling is installing its Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) in conjunction with Amtrak and Union Switch and Signal is installing a similar system in conjunction with New Jersey Transit. GE Harris continues to develop its technology for the Alaska Railroad. While the contractor for the Illinois DOT Project is not a member of RPI, many of its subcontractors are. The latter project is due to be completed in 2003, at which time the principals will determine whether to move ahead with installation. Finally, the PTC effort in the Northwest undertaken by BNSF, Union Pacific and GE Harris demonstrated PTC concepts but also proved to be extremely expensive. RPI and its member companies continue to work with the federal government and the railroad industry as PTC technology continues to develop in the country.

From: NTSB
To: Railway Progress Institute, Inc.
Date: 7/28/2000
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD WOULD APRRECIATE LEARNING OF ANY ACTIONS THAT THE RPI HAS TAKEN OR INTENDS TO TAKE SINCE OUR LAST CORRESPONDENCE TO ADDRESS R-91-32, R-93-15, AND R-95-20.

From: NTSB
To: Railway Progress Institute, Inc.
Date: 3/18/1992
Response:

From: Railway Progress Institute, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 1/3/1992
Response: IN AN EFFORT TO ALLOW THE ADVANCED TRAIN CONTROL SUPPLY INDUSTRY TO HAVE A VEHICLE TO MEET AND DISCUSS INDUSTRY ISSUES, RPI FORMED THE COMMITTEE ON ADVANCED TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEMS IN 1989. ONE OF THE TASKS ACCEPTED BY THE RPI COMMITTEE ON ADVANCED TRAIN CONTROL SYSTEMS IS TO DEVELOP LINES OF COMMUNICATION WITH THE VARIOUS FEDERAL AND INDUSTRY ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE FOLLOWING THE DEVELOPMENT OF ATCS. IN THAT ROLE, RPI CAN PROVIDE TO THOSE ORGANIZATIONS INFORMATION ON THE DEVELOPING ATCS TECHNOLOGIES AND ALTERNATIVE EXISTING APPROACHES.