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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-96-025
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 6:12 A.M. ON 6/5/95, A NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT (NYCT) SOUTHBOUND SUBWAY TRAIN TRAVELING AT MAXIMUM ATTAINABLE SPEED PASSED A RED SIGNAL & COLLIDED WITH THE REAR CAR OF ANOTHER NYCT SUBWAY TRAIN THAT WAS STOPPED ON THE WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE, WHICH SPANS THE EAST RIVER & WHICH LINKS THE BOROUGHS OF BROOKLYN & MANHATTAN. THE OPERATOR OF THE STRIKING TRAIN WAS FATALLY INJURED WHEN THE LEAD CAR OF HIS TRAIN PARTIALLY TELESCOPED INTO THE REAR CAR OF THE STRUCK TRAIN & HIS CAB WAS TOTALLY CRUSHED. SIXTY-SEVEN PASSENGERS & TWO EMERGENCY RESPONDERS WERE TREATED AT AREA HOSPITALS FOR SERIOUS OR MINOR INJURIES RESULTING FROM THE ACCIDENT.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT: IDENTIFY THOSE AREAS ON YOUR SYSTEM THAT HAVE INSUFFICIENT BRAKING DISTANCE FOR TRAINS TRAVELING AT MAXIMUM ATTAINABLE SPEED & IMPLEMENT APPROPRIATE CHANGES TO PREVENT REAR-END COLLISIONS CAUSED BY OPERATOR ERROR.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: BROOKLYN, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA95MR003
Accident Reports:
​Collision Involving Two New York City Subway Trains on the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, New York, June 5, 1995
Report #: RAR-96-03
Accident Date: 6/5/1995
Issue Date: 9/11/1996
Date Closed: 11/14/2000
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Positive Train Control, Transit

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit
Date: 11/14/2000
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD NOTES THAT NYCT HAS TAKEN ACTIONS TO IDENTIFY LOCATIONS ON THE SYSTEM WHERE THERE IS INSUFFICIENT BRAKING DISTANCE FOR TRAINS TRAVELING AT MAXIMUM ATTAINABLE SPEEDS. BASED ON THIS INFORMATION, R-96-25 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit
To: NTSB
Date: 8/8/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 08/23/2000 3:19:20 PM MC# 2001132 THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS SUMMARIZE THE ACTIONS WE HAVE TAKEN OR PROPOSE TO TAKE WITH RESPECT TO R-96-25: MODIFICATIONS TO THE EMERGENCY BRAKING AND ACCELERATION PERFORMANCE OF THE ENTIRE PASSENGER FLEET HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. NYCT'S STANDARDS FOR BOTH ACCELERATION AND BRAKING PERFORMANCE ARE IN PLACE. NEW CAR PROCUREMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH THESE STANDARDS; PARSONS BRINKERHOFF (PB), THE ENGINEERING FIRM RETAINED BY NYCT TO EVALUATE EACH OF THE 8257 MAINLINE SIGNALS, HAS COMPLETED ITS ANALYSIS. NYCT'S SPEED POLICY COMMITTEE DEVELOPED A SYSTEM THAT CATEGORIZES EACH TYPE OF DEFICIENCY IDENTIFIED BY PARSONS BRINKERHOFF. THIS SYSTEM IS USED TO PRIORITIZE THE CORRECTIVE ACTIONS THAT NYCT INTENDS TO TAKE AND; NYCT IS CURRENTLY ADDRESSING IDENTIFIED DEFICIENCIES AT 2,108 LOCATIONS AS FOLLOWS: AN IN-HOUSE CAPITAL CONTRACT (S-32126) WAS ESTABLISHED TO CORRECT THE 600 HIGHEST PRIORITY LOCATIONS. THIS CONTRACT IS IN ITS FINAL STAGES AND, ONCE COMPLETED, WILL HAVE CORRECTED ALL OF THE LOCATIONS IN THE 7 HIGHEST PRIORITY CATEGORIES. SINCE JUNE 1995, 558 LOCATIONS HAVE BEEN MODIFIED. APPROXIMATELY 300 IDENTIFIED LOCATIONS WILL BE ADDRESSED THROUGH ON-GOING AND FUTURE SIGNAL MODERNIZATION PROJECTS. APPROXIMATELY 100 LOCATIONS IDENTIFIED BY THE STUDY AS BEING HIGH PRIORITY CATEGORIES ARE ACTUALLY OF LOWER PRIORITY AND WILL BE RECLASSIFIED; FOR EXAMPLE, SIGNALS THAT ARE USED INFREQUENTLY UNDER SPECIAL OPERATING PROCEDURES (E.G., REVERSE DIRECTION OF TRAFFIC) WILL BE RECLASSIFIED TO A LOWER PRIORITY. APPROXIMATELY 100 LOCATIONS THAT HAVE SAFETY MARGINS BETWEEN 120% AND 124% CANNOT BE CORRECTED WITHOUT SEVERELY IMPACTING THRU-PUT UNLESS OTHER SIGNALS IN THE AREA UNDERGO EXTENSIVE MODIFICATION. THESE LOCATIONS WILL BE ADDRESSED THROUGH OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES AND SPEED RESTRICTIONS UNTIL THEY CAN BE REPLACED UNDER THE SIGNAL MODERNIZATION PROGRAM. A SECOND CAPITAL PROJECT IS BEING DEVELOPED FOR THE 2000-2004 CAPITAL PROGRAM TO CORRECT DEFICIENCIES AT AN ADDITIONAL 1,000 LOCATIONS. FUTURE SIGNAL MODERNIZATION PROJECTS WILL INCLUDE COMMUNICATION BASED TRAIN CONTROL (CBTC) WHICH INCORPORATES CONTINUOUS OVER-SPEED PROTECTION TO ENSURE SAFE TRAIN SEPARATION THROUGHOUT THE SYSTEM AS EACH LINE IS MODERNIZED.

From: NTSB
To: Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit
Date: 7/19/2000
Response: R-96-25 WAS CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE" ON 12/12/97. THE SAFETY BOARD WOULD APPRECIATE LEARNING OF ANY ACTIONS THE NYCTA HAS TAKEN OR INTENDS TO TAKE SINCE OUR LAST CORRESPONDENCE TO ADDRESS R-96-25.

From: NTSB
To: Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit
Date: 12/12/1997
Response:

From: Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit
To: NTSB
Date: 12/2/1996
Response: NYCT has engaged the engineering firm of Parsons Brinkerhoff to analyze and evaluate each of the 8257 mainline signal locations to determine whether the emergency braking distance is adequate braking distance when the trains are traveling at maximum attainable speed (MAS). As a result of this effort, NYCT has undertaken a program to reduce the maximum attainable speed of all 5800 cars in its fleet. Reducing the speed results in a significant reduction in the corresponding acceleration performance. Modification will be completed by December 1996. NYCT is also in the process of adjusting the emergency braking performance of all cars to a new standard which was adopted in 1995. This standard was developed and adopted to recognize the performance of the composition brake shoes which are NYCT’s standard. The 1995 emergency braking distance standard provides for shorter stopping distance for speeds above 33 miles per hour and slightly longer stopping distance below that speed. This characteristic results from the performance of the composition brake shoes. Modifications of the emergency brakes to the 1995 standard will be completed for the entire fleet by December 1997. Once the modifications to both the propulsion system and the emergency brakes are complete the number of signal locations between stations that do not provide adequate braking distance will be reduced to about 500 locations. The signal locations in station areas are subject to more restrictive operating rules including maximum speeds of 15 mph leaving stations, consequently those in-station signals were not designed for MAS but for the operating speed at which speed safety is provided. The non-compliant wayside signal locations between stations will be modified to provide the required safe braking distance over the next three to five years. In the interim period, train operator compliance with the posted speed restriction signs will assure safe operation. NYCT with the assistance of its consultant Parsons Brinkerhoff will identfy each mainline signal location outside station areas where insufficient braking distance exists for trains traveling at maximum attainable speed and will modifjl the signal controls to ensure that the emergency braking distance and an adequate safety margin is provided to protect against rear end collisions caused by operator error. Within station areas, any signal location which does not provide emergency braking distance plus an adequate safety margin at operating speed required by rule (but not at maximum attainable speed) will be modified to provide emergency braking distance plus a safety margin. The modification of signals in station areas to provide emergency braking distance plus a 35% safety margin at MAS will be accomplished through the signal modernization program either with fixed block signaling or by continuous over speed protection with communication Based Train Control.The elimination of every other signal to increase block length and thereby provide additional emergency braking distance is impractical. Not only would headway be severely impacted but signal circuit changes similar to those required for control line extensions would be required. Therefore, in general at signal locations between stations where the reduced car acceleration performance and the implementation of the improved emergency braking standard does not ensure safe braking distance with the existing control lines, the existing control lines will be extended. Once control lines have been extended to provide for safe braking distance at maximum attainable speed, speed limits will only be required if civil speed considerations such as curves require reduced speed operation. Grade time signals will be used in selected locations where it is operationally not feasible to extend the control lines. The reduced speeds enforced by grade time signals at these locations will ensure that safe braking distance is provided at the reduced maximum attainable speeds enforced by grade time signaling. In support of these actions, NYCT has instituted an Efficiency Testing Program to monitor the operating characteristics of Train Operators during their normal operations. Train Service Supervisors are assigned to conduct these tests on a random basis.

From: Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit
To: NTSB
Date: 9/30/1996
Response: