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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-96-071
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 4:10 A.M. ON 2/1/96, ATCHISON, TOPEKA AND SANTA FE RAILWAY COMPANY (ATSF) FREIGHT TRAIN H-BALT1-31, EN ROUTE FROM BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA, TO LOS ANGELES, WAS TRAVELING WESTBOUND ON THE ATSF SOUTH MAIN TRACK WHEN IT DERAILED AT MILEPOST 60.4 NEAR CAJON JUNCTION, CALIFORNIA. AFTER THE DERAILMENT AND THE SUBSEQUENT RAIL CAR PILEUP, WHICH INVOLVED FIVE CARS CONTAINING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, A FIRE IGNITED THAT ENGULFED THE TRAIN AND THE SURROUNDING AREA. THE CONDUCTOR AND THE BRAKEMAN SUSTAINED FATAL INJURIES; THE ENGINEER SUFFERED SERIOUS INJURIES.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FRA: DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A PROGRAM THAT SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSES CARRIER COMPLIANCE WITH 49 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS 229.25(E)(5).
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Cajon, CA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA96MR002
Accident Reports: Derailment of Freight Train H-BALTI-31 Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company
Report #: RAR-96-05
Accident Date: 2/1/1996
Issue Date: 3/5/1997
Date Closed: 7/12/2004
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 7/12/2004
Response: CFR 229.25(e)(5) states that a railroad's event recorder periodic maintenance program is considered effective if 90 percent of the recorders inbound in any given month for periodic inspection are still fully functional; maintenance practices and test intervals will be adjusted as necessary to yield effective periodic maintenance. The Safety Board notes that the FRA conducted comprehensive reviews of two Class I railroads' event recorder maintenance, testing, and inspection programs, which lasted several months. The FRA provided the Board with the most recent followup report on one Class I railroad, which showed a noticeable improvement over two previous inspections. The FRA agreed that it would perform comprehensive compliance reviews on the testing and inspection of locomotive event recorders at all Class I railroads on a 3-year cycle. The FRA is planning to conduct comprehensive reviews of two additional Class I and some regional and short line railroads in the near future. The Safety Board recognizes that ยง229.25(e)(5) can be addressed through normal FRA inspection activity and violations issued for noncompliance and is an acceptable alternate approach to the Board's recommendation. Accordingly, the Safety Board classifies Safety Recommendation R-96-71 "Closed--Acceptable Alternate Action."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/27/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/4/2004 10:53:27 AM MC# 2040188 Upon receipt of this recommendation, together with three other safety recommendations dealing with event recorders that arose from the investigation, FRA requested the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) to accept a task of reviewing and suggesting revisions to FRA's Event Recorder regulation. The RSAC accepted this task and an Event Recorder Working Group was formed to meet and discuss the various issued involved in these recommendations. After deliberating all of the event recorder safety recommendations, amendments to the regulations were included in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Event Recorders that was finalized by FRA in November 2003. The NPRM has been forwarded to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation for approval prior to publication in the Federal 'Register. There were no specific actions taken in the NPRM to address this recommendation relating to developing and implementing a program that specifically addresses carrier compliance with 49 CFR 229.25(e)(5). Under their normal inspection activities, FRA's Motive Power and Equipment Inspectors determine if the event recorder inspections are being complied with by the carrier. Should carrier noncompliance be determined, the existing Schedule of Civil Penalties for Part 229 contains citation for violations of 49 CFR 229.25(e)(5), Ineffective maintenance. For each instance of noncompliance, a standard violation of $8,000 is prescribed, and a willful violation of $16,000. FRA believes that our inspections, and available penalty schedule, provides sufficient incentive to the carriers to comply with this provision without the need for the development and implementation of an additional regulatory program to further address the compliance issue with 49 CFR 229.25(e)(5). On March 17 FRA representatives met with Safety Board staff in a "Safety With A Team" (SWAT) meeting, and this safety recommendation which is presently classified as "Open--Unacceptable Response" was discussed. An FRA representative informed the Safety Board staff that in an effort to ensure railroad compliance with testing and inspection of locomotive event recorders, FRA conducted a comprehensive review of Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) event recorder maintenance, testing, and inspection program which spanned several months. FRA found at the start of the review that the railroad had no written instructions to employees performing 92 day periodic inspections of event recorders, and other serious problems with the programs were discovered. During the most recent follow-up review, FRA noticed a marked improvement. FRA provided the Safety Board staff with the most recent NS follow-up report performed at Chattanooga, Tennessee. FRA informed the Safety Board staff that it would perform comprehensive reviews of compliance with the testing and inspection of locomotive event recorders on all Class 1 railroads on a three-year cycle. Following this discussion with Safety Board staff, we were informed that on receipt of a letter from FRA containing this additional information, the Safety Board would determine if the information satisfies the intent of this recommendation in an acceptable manner. Based upon our discussion on March 17, and the additional information contained herein, FRA respectfully requests that Safety Recommendation R-96-71 be classified "Closed--Acceptable Action," or "Closed-Acceptable Alternative Action."

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 8/6/2002
Response: As discussed at the June 7 meeting, crashworthy locomotive event recorders is one issue that we all hope can be brought to closure in the next 2 years; we anticipate reviewing the notice of proposed rulemaking when it is issued. The Safety Board will assist the FRA in any way possible to finalize this rule, as that action will bring to closure Safety Recommendations R-96-70, -71, -72, and -73; R-97-56; and R-98-30 and -57, which, pending final rulemaking on this issue, remain classified "Open--Unacceptable Response."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/30/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 06/04/2002 11:45:43 AM MC# 2020568

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 9/30/1997
Response: R-96-71 ASKED THE FRA TO DEVELOP & IMPLEMENT A PROGRAM THAT SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSES CARRIER COMPLIANCE WITH 49 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS 229.25(E)(5). AS A MINIMUM, THE FRA SHOULD REQUIRE THAT ALL EVENT RECORDERS (INCLUDING MICROPROCESSOR-BASED SELF-TESTING RECORDERS) BE READ OUT DURING THE QUARTERLY INSPECTION TO VERIFY THEIR FUNCTIONALITY, UNTIL THE RSAC CAN DEVELOP DETAILED INSPECTION PROCEDURES FOR EVALUATING THE ENTIRE RECORDING SYSTEM. THE NEED TO PROPERLY INSPECT, TEST, & MAINTAIN THE ENTIRE EVENT RECORDING SYSTEM IS AN ONGOING REQUIREMENT. THEREFORE, THE R-96-71 IS CLASSIFIED "OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/15/1997
Response: JOLENE MOLITORIS, ADMINISTRATOR RESPPONDED THAT THE FRA HAS REFERRED THE EVENT RECORDED ISSUE RECOMMENDATIONS R-96-70 THROUGH -73) TO THE RAIL SAFETY ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR HANDLING. THE RSAC PROCESS WILL LEAD TO EXPEDITED ACTION ON THESE RECOMMENDATIONS.