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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-95-039
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 3:25 A.M., MOUNTAIN DAYLIGHT TIME, ON 6/8/94, THREE BURLINGTON NORTHERN (BN) FREIGHT TRAINS WERE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT. AN EASTBOUND TRAIN THAT HAD STOPPED FOR A TRAIN AHEAD WAS STRUCK IN THE REAR BY A FOLLOWING EASTBOUND TRAIN. BEFORE THE COLLISION, THE STRIKING EASTBOUND TRAIN HAD PASSED RESTRICTED PROCEED SIGNAL INDICATION AT HIGH SPEED WITHOUT APPRECIABLY SLOWING. THE LEAD UNIT OF THE STRIKING TRAIN DERAILED & CAME TO REST ON AN ADJACENT TRACK WHERE IT WAS HIT BY A WESTBOUND TRAIN. THE ENGINEER & CONDUCTOR OF THE STRIKING EASTBOUND TRAIN WERE KILLED & THE ENGINEER & CONDUCTOR OF THE WESTBOUND TRAIN WERE INJURED. DAMAGES TO TRACK, EQUIPMENT, & LADING WERE ESTIMATED AT $2.5 MILLION.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY: LIMIT THE USE OF THE RESTRICTED PROCEED SIGNAL INDICATION TO SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH ITS ELIMINATION WOULD PRESENT UNREASONABLE OPERATING DIFFICULTIES.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: THEDFORD, NE, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA94MR005
Accident Reports: Collision and Derailment Involving Three Burlington Northern Freight Trains
Report #: RAR-95-03
Accident Date: 6/8/1994
Issue Date: 9/18/1995
Date Closed: 2/6/1996
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Norfolk Southern Corporation (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Norfolk Southern Corporation
Date: 2/6/1996
Response: DURING ITS INVESTIGATION OF THE THEDFORD ACCIDENT, THE BOARD FOUND THAT THE NS HAS RECORDED FEWER REAR-END COLLISIONS AFTER IT BEGAN MORE STRICTLY ENFORCING RESTRICTED SPEED RULES EVEN THOUGH THE NS CONTINUE TO USE THE RESTRICTED PROCEED SIGNAL INDICATION. WE RECOGNIZED THAT THEN NS'S USE OF THE "BANNER CHECK" TO STRICTLY ENFORCE RESTRICTED SPEED HAD RESULTED IN BETTER COMPLIANCE WITH RESTRICTING SIGNAL INDICATIONS. THE BN NOW USE THIS TYPE OF TEST & NO LONGER USES THE RESTIRCTED PROCEED SIGNAL INDICATION. THE BOARD WILL ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE N'S SAFETY RECORD REFLECTS USE OF AGGRESSIVE RULES ENFORCEMENT TECHNIQUES, SUCH AS THE "BANNER TEST." WE ALSO BELIEVE THAT BANNER TESTING PROVIDES AN EFFECTIVE RULES ENFORCEMENT METHOD TO VERIFY COMPLIANCE WITH RESTRICTED SPEED. CONSEQUENTLY, THE BOARD RECOGNIZES YOUR AGGRESSIVE RULES ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM AS A SUITABALE ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION & HAS CLASSIFIED R-95-39 'CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE ACTION."

From: Norfolk Southern Corporation
To: NTSB
Date: 11/2/1995
Response: ON 11/2/95, DAVID R. GOODE, CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, STATED THAT THE RECOMMENDATION HAS BEEN REVIEWED BY OUR SENIOR OPERATING OFFICERS. WHILE WE SINCERELY APPRECIATE THE BOARD'S ONGOING EFFORT TO ENHANCE SAFETY, WE RESPECTFULLY DISAGREE WITH R-95-39 FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: 1. OUR DECISION TO CONVERT FROM STOP & PROCEED SIGNALS TO RESTRICTING SIGNALS WAS MADE MORE THAN A DECADE AGO, & WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE EXPERIENCED FEWER REAR-END COLLISIONS IN THAT PERIOD THAN WHEN WE USED THE STOP & PROCEED SIGNAL. 2. IN OUR VIEW, THE KEY TO MINIMIZING REAR-END COLLISIONS IS NOT CHANGING SIGNAL RULES, BUT ENFORCING CURRENT RULES. TOWARD THAT END, WE BELIEVE THAT IMPLEMENTATION, OF A "BANNER CHECK" PROGRAM HAS REDUCED SUBSTANTIALLY THE NUMBER OF REAR-END COLLISIONS OCCURRING ON THE NS. 3. USE OF STOP & PROCEED SIGNALS IS NOT, IN OUR VIEW, ESSENTIAL TO SAFETY OPERATIONS, CONSISTENT WITH GOOD TRAIN HANDLING, OR CONDUCIVE TO FUEL CONSERVATION. WE RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THAT THE BOARD RCONSIDER THIS RECOMMENDATION & FOCUS INSTEAD ON ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES USED BY CARRIERS THAT HAVE A CONTINUING PROBLEM WITH INCIDENTS SUCH AS THOSE REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER.