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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-97-011
Details
Synopsis: About 5:38 p.m. on 2/16/96, eastbound Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) train 286 collided with westbound National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train 29, the Capitol Limited, at milepost 8.55 on CSX main track near Silver Spring, Maryland. The MARC train was operating in the push mode in revenue service between Brunswick , Maryland, and Washington, DC.; it consisted of a locomotive and three commuter cars. The Amtrak train, operating in revenue service between Washington DC., and Chicago, Illinois, consisted of 2 locomotives and 15 cars.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: Develop and maintain separate identifiable data records for commuter and intercity rail passenger operations.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Silver Spring, MD, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA96MR004
Accident Reports: Collision and Derailment of Maryland Rail Commuter MARC Train 286 and National Railroad Passenger Corporation AMTRAK Train 29
Report #: RAR-97-02
Accident Date: 2/16/1996
Issue Date: 8/28/1997
Date Closed: 1/30/2004
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 1/30/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FRA published the final rule for 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 225 in the Federal Register of May 3, 2003, and that the FRA has also revised its Guide for Preparing Accident/Incident Reports, effective May 1, 2003. We further note that the Guide has been printed and is being distributed to all U.S. railroads. Thank you for enclosing a copy of the final rule as well as a copy of Chapter 12 of the Guide, "Railroad Accident/Incident Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements for Commuter and Other Passenger Rail Operations" for the Board's reference. The Safety Board notes that these instructions establish procedures for the railroads to report operational, accident, injury, and occupational illness data in a manner that will allow the FRA to maintain separate records for each commuter and passenger rail operation. Although a few entities are still consulting with the FRA to bring this effort to full implementation, the FRA is committed to working with those operations to ensure that they reach this goal, which will enable the FRA to compile comprehensive data on safety performance, in all areas of accident reporting, for every commuter and passenger rail operation. As this effort meets the intent of Safety Recommendation R-97-11, the recommendation is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/5/2003
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/16/2003 10:49:00 AM MC# 2030465 Since our June 7, 2002, meeting with Safety Board representatives, we found that it would not be possible to meet our intended effective date of January 1, 2003, to achieve the implementation of the new procedures designed to satisfy Safety Recommendation R-97-11. FRA published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for revision of Part 225 in the Federal Register of October 9, 2002. The NPRM stipulated a 30-day comment period which ended November 8, 2002. Only two written comments were received, one being of a nonspecific nature from a private citizen, and the second from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) containing numerous technical comments and suggestions. A public meeting was conducted in Washington, D.C., on December 4, 2002, at which FRA representatives heard and discussed the AAR's comments. During this meeting, it was obvious that FRA's original effective date for the revised rule of January 1, 2003, could not be realistically achieved. A suggestion was made by FRA for a revised effective date of May 1, 2003, and this was accepted by the AAR. Following this meeting, FRA then prepared the final rule, as well as the revised FRA Guide for Preparing Accident/Incident Reports. FRA published the final rule for 49 CFR Part 225 in the Federal Register of May 3, 2003. A copy of this final rule is enclosed for the Safety Board's reference, with discussion of this subject shown on page 10123. FRA also revised the FRA Guide for Preparing Accident/Incident Reports, effective May 1,2003, which contains a new Chapter 12 entitled, "Railroad Accident/Incident Reporting and Record keeping Requirements for Commuter and Other Passenger Rail Operations." Copies of this revised FRA Guide have been printed and are being distributed to all railroads in the United States. Also enclosed is a copy of Chapter 12 of the revised FRA Guide. The major thrust of these comprehensive instructions is to establish procedures for use by the railroad's to report operational data, accident, injury and occupational illness data in a manner that will allow FRA to maintain separate records for each commuter and/or passenger rail operation. While we are able at this time to compile accident, injury and operational data to reflect the comprehensive safety performance of most commuter and passenger railroads in the Nation, there still remain a few entities that require consultation with FRA to fully enable this objective. FRA will work with those few remaining commuter/passenger rail operations to ensure that their reporting to us will enable FRA to compile data to reflect their comprehensive safety performance in all areas of accident reporting. Based upon the actions that FRA has taken, we respectfully request that the Safety Board consider classifying Safety Recommendation R-97-l1 as "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 9/19/2001
Response: The FRA indicates that they have developed separate records for some passenger/commuter organizations such as Amtrak, but have found that there were problems with the reporting of certain other railroads such as the Steam Town Railroad and the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation that operates several commuter lines in Chicago, Illinois. The FRA also indicates that as a result of the problems identified, the RSAC has been asked to form a working group to revise the present FRA Guide for Preparing Accident/ Incident Reports. Pending notification that the FRA has developed and is maintaining separate identifiable data records for commuter and intercity rail passenger operations, Safety Recommendation R-97-11 remains "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/21/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 05/25/2001 7:18:45 PM MC# 2010437: The Office of Safety is continuing the effort to collect commuter and other passenger safety data by railroad. The National Passenger Railroad Corporation (Amtrak) has now separated the commuter service reporting from its intercity service. That began in 1997. For the Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) System, both Amtrak and CSX Transportation, Inc., have to separate this information. This made FRA analysis more complex, but we continue to agree with NTSB that it is worthwhile. When FRA finds this kind of problem with other railroads, it has met with the railroad to improve the reporting. In 2000, the FRA discovered a similar problem with Steam Town Railroad: a contractor was doing the service for Steam Town and including their train miles, employee hours, injuries and accident in their data. That has been resolved. In 2001, FRA will be receiving three sets of reports for the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation (NIRC), that operates several commuter lines in Chicago, Illinois. One set of records will come from NIRC for those commuter routes that NIRC owns and operates. A second set of records will be received from NIRC for service that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway provides under contract for NIRC. And the third set of records will be received from NIRC for service that Union Pacific Railroad provides under contract to NIRC. These three sets will be combined to generate the composite totals for NIRC in the areas of: operational miles, employee hours worked, passenger miles operated, passengers carried, casualties to persons, rail equipment accidents, and highway-rail grade crossing accidents. FRA recognizes that this task is larger than just separating the commuter services that Amtrak provides under contract at various locations in the Nation. FRA proposed at the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee meeting held on April 23,2001, that a new task be accepted by RSAC, and a working group be formed to revise the present FRA Guide for Preparing Accident/Incident Reports. Subject to acceptance by member organizations, part of the proposed revision of FRA’s Guide will be a more complete explanation of the reporting requirements necessary to get information about passenger service when another carrier/provider is performing train operations. Until FRA is able to achieve the intent of the Board’s recommendation, we request that Safety Recommendation R-97-l 1 be retained in "Open-Acceptable Action" status.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 9/30/1999
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD IS PLEASED THAT THE FRA IS IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATION. PENDING SUCCESSFUL SEPARATION OF COMMUTER AND INTERCITY PASSENGER DATA, THE SAFETY BOARD HAS CLASSIFIED R-97-11 "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/25/1998
Response: FRA ACCOMPLISHED THESE IMPROVEMENTS IN AUTOMATED DATA FORMAT FOR ALL REPORTS FILED ON OR AFTER 1/1/97. FRA APPRECIATES THE SUPPORT OF THE SAFETY BOARD IN ACCOMPLISHING THESE IMPROVEMENTS IN OUR DATA SYSTEM. THE ISSUED REFERRED TO IN THE BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNS THE ABILITY TO ACCOMPLISH MACHINE SORTS OF ACCIDENT/INCIDENT DATA SPECIFIC TO INDIVIDUAL PASSENGER RAIL OPERATIONS. THE FRA HAS BEEN COLLECTING ACCIDENT, INCIDENT AND OPERATIONAL DATA FROM MOST MAJOR COMMUTER RAILROADS DIRECTLY, AND ANALYSIS OF THAT DATA HAS NOT BEEN A PROBLEM. HOWEVER, DATA FOR RAILROADS USING AMTRAK TO PROVIDE SERVICE AS A CONTRACT OPERATOR HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN AMTRAK REPORTS, ALONG WITH INTERCITY RESULTS. DIFFICULTIES HAVE ALSO EXISTED WHERE FREIGHT RAILROADS SERVE AS CONTRACT OPERATOR. IN JULY 1995, FRA SENT A LETTER TO THE COMMUTER RAILROADS USING AMTRAK' TO PROVIDE SERVICE. THE LETTER REQUESTED THAT BEGINNING JANUARY 1996 THESE RAILROADS WERE TO REPORT INJURIES, ACCIDENTS AND OPERATION DATA (TRAIN MILES, PASSENGER MILES, ETC.) UNDER THEIR OWN REPORTING INITIALS. THE COMMUTERS COULD REQUEST AMTRAK TO REPORT FOR THEM, BUT AMTRAK COULD NOT AGGREGATE THE COMMUTERS' DATA INTO THE AMTRAK REPORTS. DUE TO LOGISTICAL PROBLEMS AND AMTRAK SOFTWARE PROBLEMS, THIS REQUEST COULD NOT BE FULFILLED IN 1996. IN THE INTERIM, THE FRA ISSUED REVISIONS TO THE RAILROAD ACCIDENT REPORTING RULE THAT MANDATED A NUMBER OF CHANGES IN REPORTING (61 FR 30940; 6/18/96). A SECOND LETTER WAS SENT IN FEBRUARY 1997 TO COMMUTER RAILROADS REMINDING THEM TO COMPLY WITH THE REVISED FEDERAL REGULATIONS ON ACCIDENT REPORTING. DATA FOR THESE RAILROADS ARE NOW BEING REPORTED TO FRA IN A FORMAT THAT PERMITS CLEAR IDENTIFICATION OF THE ENTITY ON WHOSE BEHALF THE SERVICE IS PROVIDED. FOR 1997 AND SUBSEQUENT YEARS, THE FRA WILL BE ABLE TO REPORT FREQUENCY AND RATES OF ACCIDENTS AND CASUALTIES BY INTERCITY SERVICE, COMMUTER SERVICE AND RAIL FREIGHT. AGAIN, FRA APPRECIATES THE SAFETY BOARD'S INITIATIVE AND SUPPORT IN ACCOMPLISHING THIS IMPROVEMENT IN OUR DATA SYSTEMS.