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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-94-016
Details
Synopsis: ON NOVEMBER 11, 1993, ABOUT 12:24 A.M. PACIFIC STANDARD TIME, A BURLINGTON NORTHERN (BN) FREIGHT TRAIN COLLIDED HEAD ON WITH A UNION PACIFIC (UP) FREIGHT TRAIN AT BN MILEPOST 102.8 SOUTH OF THE LONGVIEW JUNCTION SOUTH INTERLOCKING NEAR KELSO, WASHINGTON. AS A RESULT OF THE ACCIDENT ALL FIVE CREWMEMBERS FROM BOTH TRAINS WERE KILLED.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS: IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION, IDENTIFY AND EVALUATE ALL OF THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF POSITIVE TRAIN SEPARATION AND INCLUDE THEM IN ANY COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS CONDUCTED ON POSITIVE TRAIN SEPARATION CONTROL SYSTEMS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: KELSO, WA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA94MR001
Accident Reports: Head-On Collision and Derailment of Burlington Northern Freight Train with Union Pacific Freight Train
Report #: RAR-94-02
Accident Date: 11/11/1993
Issue Date: 11/23/1994
Date Closed: 7/16/2002
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Association of American Railroads (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Positive Train Control

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 7/16/2002
Response: The FRA's Rail Safety Advisory Committee's (RSAC's) Positive Train Control (PTC) working group completed its report "Report of the RSAC to the FRA: Implementation of Positive Train Control" in September 1999; the report was sent to Congress in May 2000. The report sent to Congress discussed four levels of PTC and provided an evaluation of the associated costs and benefits of PTC systems. As AAR fully participated in this endeavor, Safety Recommendation R-94-16 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action." However, given the subsequent reductions in the cost of technology and the fact that PTC systems can provide economic benefits in terms of increased capacity, traffic management, etc., the Safety Board believes that a re-evaluation of the benefits is appropriate. Should the AAR conduct a new evaluation, the Safety Board would appreciate receiving a copy of the new evaluation.

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 12/6/2000
Response: The Safety Board notes that the AAR requests that these recommendations remain in an "open" posture as the association’s committees consider action. As these recommendations were issued between 2 and 9 years ago, the Safety Board would appreciate receiving a substantive response to all of them within 60 days as to contemplated actions and a schedule to complete such actions. Pending receipt of the requested information within 60 days, the above-listed Safety Recommendations are classified "Open-Acceptable Response." In your reply, please refer to the Safety Recommendations by number.

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 8/21/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 08/22/2000 3:29:20 PM MC# 2001125 The rail industry, through its appropriate committees, is carefully considering the above-referenced recommendation. When that review is completed, I will notify you of the resolution.

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 12/22/1995
Response: THE BOARD IS DISAPPOINTED THAT THE AAR IS STILL RELUCTANT TO PUBLICLY LINK BUSINESS & SAFETY BENEFITS TO DETERMINE EXPECTED BENEFITS OF PTS. HOWEVER, THE BOARD IS ALSO AWARE THAT THE FOUNDATION FOR THE SUMMATION OF THE BENEFITS FOR COST/BENEFITS ANALYSIS IS BEING COOPERATIVELY DEVELOPED BY THE APPROPRIATE CONCERNED PARTIES. SUCH COOPERATION IS EVIDENCED BY THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST PTS PROJECT & THE FRA'S RECENT OF $750,000 TO THE WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO HELP DEVELOP TRAIN CONTROL TECHNOLOGY. THE FRA'S 8/21/95, PRESS RELEASE CONCERNING THIS PROJECT GRANT STATED THAT GENERAL ELECATIRC-HARRIS-RAILWAY ELECTRONICS HAD RECEIVED A GRANT TO DEVELOP A COMPUTER MODEL THAT WOULD BE USED AS A TOOL TO ASSESS POTENTIAL PTS COSTS & BENEFITS. THE BOARD STRONGLY BELIEVES THAT, DESPITE PUBLIC PRONOUNCEMENTS TO THE CONTRARY, THE COOPERATION URGED BY THIS RECOMMENDATION IS TAKING PLACE & THAT BENEFITS, BOTH BUSINESS & SAFETY, ARE BEING IDENTIFIED & DOCUMENTED FOR FUTURE EVALUATION. RATHER THAN DEBATE THE TYPE OF COOPERATION (PUBLIC OR PRIVATE) THAT SHOULD TAKE PLACE, THE BOARD HAS DECIDED TO RECOGNIZE THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES COOPERATION THAT IS TAKING PLACE & KEEP THIS RECOMMENDATION OPEN UNTIL THE RESULTS OF THIS EFFORT ARE ANNOUNCED. CONSEQUENTLY, THE BOARD HAS CLASSIFIED R-94-16 "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE." THE BOARD INTENTS TO REVISIT THE RECOMMENDATION ONCE RESULTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST PROJECT ARE RELEASED.

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 8/17/1995
Response: EDWIN HARPER ON 8/17/95, STATED THAT THE AAR & ITS MEMBER RAILROADS CONTINUE TO BELIEVE THAT POSITIVE TRAIN SEPARATIONS MUST BE JUSTIFIED ON THE BASIS OF SAFETY BENEFITS ONLY. THE FRA HAS ACCEPTED THIS PRINCIPLE. GIVETHE BOARD'S UNYIELDING POSITION, HOWEVER, FURTHER DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUE WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE PRODUCTIVE. AAR THEREFORE REQUEST THAT R-94-16 BE CLOSED IN RECOGNITION THAT OUR RESOURCES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE SAFETY ISSUES FACING US. THE AAR WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THE SAFETY BOARD ON OTHER SAFETY MATTERS WHICH HAVE BEEN THE SUBJECT OF ITS ATTENTION, E.G.

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 8/1/1995
Response: THE BOARD IS DISAPPOINTED WITH AAR'S POSITION ON THE POTENTIAL BUSINESS BENEFITS ACCRUING FROM PTS. THE BOARD UNDERSTANDS THAT WITHOUT A PTS SYSTEM IN PLACE, ASSESSING BUSINESS BENEFITS WOULD BE DIFFICULT. HOWEVER, SINCE PTS IS BEING INSTALLED IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY HAS AN OPPROTUNITY TO CONDUCT SUCH AN ASSESSMENT IN THE FIELD. THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT IF THESE BENEFITS ARE NOT IDENTIFIED, ANY COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF PTS WILL BE MISLEADING. THE BOARD DOES NOT AGREE WITH FRA'S ASSERTION IN ITS REPORT TO CONGRESS THAT RAILROADS "ARE JUSTIFIED INSISTING THAT THE PTS DEBATE INCLUDE A CLEAR FOCUS ON SAFETY COSTS & BENEFITS." THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT ALL BENEFITS, INCLUDING BOTH SAFETY & BUSINESS, NEED TO BE IDENTIFIED, & CONSIDERED IN ANY DISCUSSION OR SUBSEQUENT JUSTIFICATION OF PTS. THE AAR HAS THE EXPERTISE & THE RESOURCES TO IDENTIFY THESE BENEFITS FOR A VARIETY OF RAILROAD OPEPRATIONAL ENVIRONMENTS. THEREFORE, THE BOARD LOOKS TO THE AAR FOR LEADERSHIP IN THIS EFFORT. YOUR RESPONSE, HOWEVER, INDICATES THAT THE AAR IS NOT YET WILLING TO EVALUATE & TO PROMOTE THE ECONOMIC POTENTIAL OF PTS. BASED ON THIS INFO, R-94-16 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--UNACCPETABLE RESPOSNE."

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 2/28/1995
Response: EDWIN HARPER STATED THAT AAR IS CONVINCED THAT THE CENTER OF ANY RELIABLE ECONOMIC ANALYSIS BY THE GOVERNMENT OF PTS MUST BE THE EVALUATION OF SAFETY BENEFITS. THIS IS BECAUSE THERE NEVER HAS BEEN AN INDUSTRY-SIDE BUSINESS CASE FOR PTS. SOME RAILROADS HAVE CHOSEN THE USE OF THE PTS COMMUNICATIONS LINK FOR BUSINESS APPLICATIONS, BUT OTHER RAILROADS HAVE FOUND THAT IT IS MORE EFFECTIVE TO USE OTHER COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY. THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY SUPPORTS DEVELOPMENT OF A PTS SYSTEM THAT IS COST JUSTIFIED.