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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-97-026
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, & Washington, DC.; it consisted of a locomotive & three commuter cars. The Amtrak train, operating in revenue service between Washington DC., & Chicago, Illinois, consisted of 2 locomotives & 15 cars.
Recommendation: TO CSX TRANSPORTATION INC.: Develop & install a positive train separation control system on track segments that have commuter & intercity passenger trains.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
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:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: CSX Transportation, Inc. (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Positive Train Control

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 4/7/2014
Response: We are encouraged to learn that your PTC implementation and development plans were submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration on April 16, 2010, and June 1, 2011, respectively, and that full implementation of PTC is expected by December 31, 2015. Pending notification that PTC has been implemented on all CSXT track segments on which passenger trains operate, Safety Recommendation R-97-26 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 1/31/2014
Response: -From James M. Marks, Jr., Vice President Safety and Field Career Development: CSX Transportation Inc. (CSXT) submits this response to the letter to Mr. Michael Ward dated December 18,2013 concerning NTSB Safety Recommendation R-97-26 which states: Develop and install a positive train separation control system on track segments that have commuter passenger trains. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB or Board) made this recommendation to CSXT in connection with the Board's investigation into the February 16, 1996 collision of a Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) train and a National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train on CSXT main line near Silver Spring, Maryland. The Board previously classified Recommendation R - 97-26 "Open - Acceptable Response" pending further evaluation by CSXT. As you may recall, CSXT filed its previous updated response to this safety recommendation in August 2007. At that time, CSXT provided a specific update in regard to its continued efforts to develop a non-interoperable positive train control (PTC) system known as Communications Based Train Management (CBTM). The CBTM system was in the process of resuming field testing in 2007. Just over one year later, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act of2008 (RSIA08) mandating that an interoperable PTC system be installed by CSXT and other freight and passenger railroads on or before December 31 ,2015 both on passenger lines and on main lines carrying TIH. As the CBTM system was non-interoperable, CSXT and other freight railroads immediately began jointly developing a new interoperable PTC system which is now known as the Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (1-ETMS). CSXT has been working jointly with FRA, the other Class 1 railroads, and numerous vendors, to develop, test, and install interoperable PTC components and software. While very significant progress towards implementation has been made, many challenges remain to completing a nationwide interoperable PTC system. The status and challenges of PTC implementation were documented in a paper compiled by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) on January 18, 2012 titled "PTC Implementation: The Railroad Industry Cannot Install PTC on the Entire Nationwide Network by the December 2015 Deadline" (also known as the Industry Status Paper "ISP"). The 2012 ISP contained charts ofthe railroads' progress (including CSXT) towards PTC implementation in a variety of areas such as locomotive installs, wayside unit installations and development of software. The AAR issued an updated 2013 ISP in May 2013. The 2013 ISP contains updated information from the various railroads including CSXT in regard to their PTC implementation efforts, including an update in regard to the challenges that remain for implementing an interoperable PTC system by December 31,2015. A copy of the 2013 ISP is attached to this letter. AAR is presently preparing and plans to circulate a 2014 ISP in February 2014. This updated ISP will provide the most up to date information in regard to CSXT's, and the rail industry's status and efforts towards implementing PTC. The ISP's demonstrate that CSXT has expended enormous efforts and resources to develop, test, install, and implement an interoperable PTC system. CSXT remains committed to implementing an interoperable PTC system as quickly as possible in a manner that does not adversely impact safety or unduly disrupt rail transportation services that are essential to the health of our nation's economy. CSXT, and the industry, have committed to providing updated status reports on PTC implementation to the FRA every six months. CSXT will ensure that these updated reports are also provided to the NTSB. Consistent with our ongoing commitment to work cooperatively with the Board, we would be happy to discuss with you any questions you might have.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 12/27/2013
Response: We were encouraged to learn from your website that CSXT’s PTC implementation (initial release) and development plans (I-ETMS) were submitted to the FRA on April 16, 2010, and June 1, 2011, respectively. Pending the implementation of PTC on all CSXT track segments on which passenger trains operate, Safety Recommendation R-97-26 remains classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 12/18/2013
Response: Our last update from CSX regarding this recommendation was dated August 24, 2007. We generally expect the actions we recommend to be completed within 5 years after a safety recommendation is issued; this recommendation is now more than 16 years old. Accordingly, we ask that you provide us, within 90 days of receiving this letter, an update on any relevant actions currently in progress, planned, or completed. Safety Recommendation R-97-26 is currently classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE and will retain this classification pending your timely response. For your convenience, a copy of our letter issuing Safety Recommendation R-97-26 is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/1997/R97_26_31.pdf The full report of the accident is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/1997/RAR9702.pdf.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 1/22/2008
Response: The Safety Board notes that in June 2007, the FRA reinstated CSXT’s waiver to install a PTC system called Communications Based Train Management (CBTM) on approximately 130 miles of track in non-signaled (dark) territory operating under direct traffic control (DTC) rules in the Southeast on the Spartanburg and McCormick subdivisions and the Duke Branch between Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia on a single main track, with passing sidings, and branch lines. The FRA has also given CSXT approval to extend the CBTM pilot territory north on approximately 136 miles of track to allow CSXT to complete the software development necessary to adapt CBTM’s basic principles to a signaled territory, such as a traffic control system (TCS) on the Blue Ridge subdivision between Spartanburg, South Carolina and Erwin, Tennessee. Data is currently being gathered on CBTM’s performance in DTC territory while system development for the TCS territory continues. The Safety Board has been advised by CSXT that currently, two enhancements are being made to its CBTM. The first is a migration to a common software platform, which will provide graphic information to the crew through the onboard display, similar to that used by other class I railroads. The second is adapting CBTM to work under track warrant control (TWC) rules, since it is CSXT’s intention to discontinue the use of DTC operations. Interfaces are being designed between the new dispatching system and the field equipment. When this effort is complete, CSXT will begin conducting field tests in 2008. CSXT is continuing to identify new locations in signaled and dark territory that meet operational needs for future CBTM testing. The Safety Board is pleased with CSXT’s development of a CBTM system and emphasizes the installation on track segments that have commuter and intercity passenger trains once fully tested and approved by the FRA. Pending the development and installation of CBTM on the remaining track segments where passenger trains operate, Safety Recommendation R-97-26 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. The Board requests that CSXT provide updates as CBTM is expanded to its other subdivisions. Thank you for your continued cooperation with the Safety Board in our joint efforts to address this important safety issue and improve transportation safety

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 8/24/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/4/2007 2:42:41 PM MC# 2070460: - From C. Wayne Workman, General Manager Train Accident Investigation and Prevention: CSX Transportation Inc. (CSXT) submits this updated response to your letter to Mr. Michael Ward dated July 23, 2007 concerning the above referenced recommendation. The National Safety Board (NTSB or Board) made these recommendations to CSXT in connection with the Board’s investigation into the collision of Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) train and a National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) train on CSXT main line near Silver Spring, Maryland, on February 16, 1996. The Board previously classified Recommendation R-97-26 Open Acceptable Response pending further evaluation by CSXT. This letter will provide an update on progress being made at CSX Transportation regarding Communications Based Train Management (CBTM). Recently, FRA reinstated the waiver for CSXT to continue development of CBTM on the Blue Ridge, Spartanburg, McCormick subdivisions and the Duke Branch. Currently, CSXT is installing a new upgraded Next Generation Dispatching system, which provides computer oversight of dispatcher decision-making across non-signaled territory. In addition, we have installed islands of train control on the Spartanburg subdivision, which automates signal sidings. Each of these major capital projects enhances safety. However, to continue our field-testing of CBTM, interfaces between these systems must be created. The interfaces are being built but further field-testing is not likely to occur in 2007. CSXT recognizes the Board’s desire to have CBTM on passenger and commuter routes when fully developed. As we continue to enhance safety systems at CSXT and develop CBTM and in keeping with our commitment to keep the Board informed, I will continue to provide updates of our progress. We believe the foregoing actions by CSXT satisfy the Board’s recommendation. Consistent with our ongoing commitment to work cooperatively with the Board and it’s investigators, we would be happy to discuss with you any questions you might have.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 7/23/2007
Response: The Safety Board notes that in 1998, CSXT initiated a pilot program to develop, implement, and test technology designed to meet the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Safety Advisory Committee Positive Train Control (PTC) Working Group’s core objectives to prevent train collisions and overspeed derailments, and to further protect on-track workers. CSXT refers to this technology as Communications Based Train Management (CBTM). The Safety Board also notes that, according to CSXT’s Railroad Safety Program Plan (RSPP) Revision 1.0, dated July 21, 2006, CBTM has been installed on the Spartanburg Subdivision on 60.5 miles of track; it has also been installed on the McCormick Subdivision on 62.8 miles of track. Field testing of the pilot program commenced in April 2000 on the 123.3 miles of CSXT track in nonsignaled territory between Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia. Currently, 63 locomotives are equipped with CBTM hardware. Approximately 36 trains operate over the 2 subdivisions; the maximum authorized speed is 40 miles per hour (mph). CBTM is also being installed on the Blue Ridge Subdivision on 137.0 miles of signaled track and on the Duke Branch on 6.3 miles of non-signaled track. In the second half of 2007, testing is expected to begin on the 143.3 miles of CSXT track between Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Erwin, Tennessee, where approximately 25 trains operate with a maximum authorized speed of 50 mph on the subdivision and 25 mph on the branch. Testing on the Blue Ridge Subdivision will include an interface with the existing signal system. The Safety Board notes that no commuter or intercity passenger train operations use the 266.6 miles of track in CBTM territory. There are no joint operations with other railroads, although CBTM’s enhanced features will be interoperable with both the BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad’s PTC systems. The Board is pleased with the progress that has been completed and recognizes that CBTM must be developed and tested by CSXT before an active and functioning system will be available. Because of the serious consequences that can result from a collision with a commuter or passenger train, the Safety Board urges that CBTM be installed, as a priority, where commuter and intercity passenger trains operate over CSXT tracks, when the testing is completed. Pending the development and installation of CBTM on the remaining track segments where passenger trains operate, Safety Recommendation R-97-26 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. The Board requests that CSXT provide updates as CBTM is expanded to its other subdivisions

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 12/5/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 12/7/2006 7:12:53 AM MC# 2060587: - From Wayne C. Workman, General Manager, Train Accident Prevention: As indicated in previous correspondence in response to this recommendation, CSXT initiated a pilot program in 1998 for a Positive Train Control (PTC) system known as Communications Based Train Management (CBTM). At the same time, CSXT submitted a waiver petition pursuant to 49 CFR 9211.51 in order to conduct field-testing. The FRA conditionally approved this waiver in November 1998, and field-testing commenced in April 2000. CBTM field-testing was discontinued in March 2004 based on a verbal request from the FRA. The FRA withdrew all authority granted under the original waiver on April 8, 2005. On March 7, 2005 the FRA published the Final Rule regarding Standards for Development and Use of Processor-Based Signal and Train Control Systems, 49 CFR 236, Subpart H. This is a performance based rule, which means the product or system determines how it will be developed, implemented, tested, maintained, etc., as long as the risk associated with its operation does not increase. This is a departure by the FRA from the traditional prescriptive regulations found in 49 CFR 236, Subparts A-G. Subpart H requires the submission of a Product Safety Plan (PSP) for FRA approval prior to the implementation and operation of a new train control system. Subpart H, §236.913 (j)(l) and (2) allows field-testing prior to PSP approval. On May 17, 2006, CSXT submitted an Informational Filing and Waiver Petition in order to conduct additional field-testing of changes made to CBTM that addressed reliability, affordability, functionality, and interoperability issues identified during the original pilot program. In addition, CBTM has been adapted to work in Traffic Control Signal System (TCS) territory. This functionality has never been tested in the field. CSXT has started conducting preliminary field tests of the CBTM track database, communications, and monitored switches. CSXT’s contractor, Wabtec, is currently working on two enhancements to the CBTM system. The first is a migration to a common software platform that includes providing graphical information to the crew on the CBTM display. This platform will be used by the BNSF and UP railroads for their Positive Train Control systems, which are also being developed by Wabtec. The second enhancement is to adapt CBTM to work under Track Warrant Control (TWC) rules, since it is CSXT’s intent to move away from Direct Traffic Control (DTC) operation in nonsignaled territory. When this development is complete, we will be conducting field-tests of these enhancements on both the Spartanburg and Blue Ridge subdivisions. This testing will probably occur in the second half of 2007. CSXT will continue the research and development of the CBTM system and the development of a platform that is compatible to both the BNSF and UP railroads. While much has been accomplished, much more must be developed and tested by CSXT and its industry partners before an active and functioning system is available on CSXT. We believe the foregoing actions by CSXT satisfy the Board’s recommendation. Consistent with our ongoing commitment to work cooperatively with the Board and its investigators, we would be happy to discuss with you any questions you might have.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 7/31/2003
Response: The Safety Board notes that CSXT is presently piloting communications-based train management (CBTM) on a line segment between Augusta, Georgia, and Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Board further notes that although this wireless train control system, which monitors the location and operation of the train and compares it to what is authorized, has been targeted for non-signaled freight operation, CSXT is in the process of adapting it to both signaled territory and to passenger operations. In that regard, CSXT has applied to the Federal Railroad Administration to authorize the system's use between Raleigh and Hamlet, North Carolina, a passenger route. As these are positive steps toward the goal of the Board's recommendation, R-97-26 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. As progress is made in implementing CBTM on passenger routes, the Board would appreciate being informed.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 4/16/2003
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 4/29/2003 11:31:15 AM MC# 2030220 - From Michael J. Ward, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer: With respect to Recommendation R-97-26, we presently are piloting Communications-Based Train Management (CBTM) on a line segment between Augusta, GA., and Spartanburg, S.C. CBTM is a wireless train control system that monitors the location and operation of the train and compares that to what is authorized. The engineer retains primary control of and responsibility for the train. So long as he or she is operating properly within the authority, the system is silent; however, if the train is about to exceed its authority (limits or speed), the system will warn the engineer for up to 90 seconds. If the warning is not heeded, the system will stop the train before the authority is exceeded. CBTM meets the Federal Railroad Administration's three criteria for a positive train control system, namely, trains should not collide, speed or encroach on on-track worker authorities. We have found the results to date to be very promising. We have targeted this system for non-signaled freight operation, but we are in the process of adapting it to both signaled territory and to passenger operations. We have applied to the FRA to authorize its use between Raleigh and Hamlet, NC, which is a passenger route.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 3/21/2003
Response: NMC# 102077: With respect to Safety Recommendation R-97-26, we had been informed by CSX that research and development of an open architecture design specification was complete and that development of PTS control systems had moved to the procurement stage. With respect to Safety Recommendation R-97-29, we have been awaiting further information on whether the disaster drills had been conducted with all the parties listed in the recommendation. Because the Safety Board has received positive responses from CSX Transportation on more recently issued recommendations, such as H-02-12, we are concerned that these recommendations may have been inadvertently overlooked. We would appreciate receiving an update on these recommendations; specifically, the progress being made on the installation of PTS and whether emergency drills have been conducted with Jefferson and Berkeley Counties in West Virginia and with the City of Baltimore. Pending receipt of this information, Safety Recommendations R-97-26 and -29 both remain classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 5/17/2002
Response: Mr. Crown's letter indicates that CSXT is engaged jointly with industry, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Illinois Department of Transportation in a pilot project using a PTC system for high-speed train operation in that state. In addition, the company is independently testing its Communications Based Train Management system (a more comprehensive PTC system) in a pilot program involving the territory between Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia. Accordingly, pending completion of CSXT's pilot program and its analysis of the two systems' performance, Safety Recommendation R-97-26 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 11/16/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 01/23/2002 8:27:14 PM MC# 2020074 - From Al F. Crown, Executive Vice President-Transportation: The RSAC PTC Working Group established the core objectives of any PTC system as preventing train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, and further protection of on-track workers. Positive Train Control (PTC) describes any train control system that meets only the first objective to prevent train-to-train collisions. CSXT is participating in a joint Industry/FRA/IDOT Project for PTC in high-speed operation in the state of Illinois. Communications Based Train Management (CBTM), CSXT's pursuit of PTC, is designed to meet all of the RSAC safety objectives. It is a safety enhancement system that works in conjunction with the existing method of operation in Direct Train Control (DTC) territory. For instance, using GPS and other inputs, CBTM will calculate when a penalty brake application would be needed to prevent the train from violating its authority. Our crews are currently using the system when they operate an equipped locomotive over the pilot territory, which is between Spartanburg, SC and Augusta, GA. CSXT continues to gather data on CBTM's performance and crew acceptance in order to determine the requirements for a production system.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 10/30/2001
Response: NMC# 100956: Safety Recommendations R-97-26 and -29 were classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE on January 7, 1999, pending receipt of further information from CSX Transportation, Inc. With respect to R-97-26, we had been informed that research and development of an open architecture design specification was complete and that development of PTS control systems had moved to the procurement stage. With respect to R-97-29, we were awaiting further information on whether the disaster drills had been conducted with all the parties listed in the recommendation. We would appreciate an update on these two recommendations. It is possible that Safety Recommendation R-97-26 will be discussed at an upcoming Board meeting in November.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 1/7/1999
Response: The Board is pleased to learn that research and development of an open architecture design specification is complete and that the development of PTS control systems has moved to the procurement stage with a goal on an inter-operable/compatible platform aboard locomotives. Please keep the Board informed of progress. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation R-97-26 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 10/7/1998
Response: Research and development of an open architecture design specification is complete and the development of PTS control systems has moved to the procurement stage with a goal on an inter-operable/compatible platform aboard locomotives.

From: NTSB
To: CSX Transportation, Inc.
Date: 7/8/1998
Response: The Safety Board is pleased to learn that the CSXT is committed to the development of PTS control systems and is actively supporting the development of a state-of-the-art system. Please keep the Board informed of progress made. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation R-97-26 has been classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: CSX Transportation, Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 12/9/1997
Response: MC# 971726: - From Paul Reistrup, Vice President Passenger Integration: The CSXT is committed to the development of PTS control systems and is actively supporting the development of a state-of-the-art system.