Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-97-038
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, D.C.; IT CONSISTED OF A LOCOMOTIVE AND THREE COMMUTER CARS. THE AMTRAK TRAIN, OPERATING IN REVENUE SERVICE BETWEEN WASHINGTON D.C., AND CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, CONSISTED OF 2 LOCOMOTIVES AND 15 CARS.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE GOVERNOR AND THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF MARYLAND: INSTRUCT AND EMPOWER AN APPROPRIATE STATE AGENCY TO PROVIDE CONTINUAL, EFFECTIVE, AND INDEPENDENT SAFETY OVERSIGHT OF ALL ASPECTS OF THE MARYLAND RAIL COMMUTER OPERATIONS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate 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: 1/25/2005
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of Maryland (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland
Date: 1/25/2005
Response: The Safety Board acknowledges that the State of Maryland has designated the MTA, a modal administration of the Maryland Department of Transportation, as the State agency to provide independent oversight of MARC train operations. Specifically, the MTA's Office of Safety and Risk Management is responsible for the overall safety of all aspects of MARC operations. The Board notes that the position of MARC Safety Officer was created within the MTA Office of Safety and Risk Management in 2000 as a result of our recommendation. In the past three years, the MTA Office of Safety and Risk Management has trained over 1,200 firefighters in railcar safety. The MTA's action meets the intent of the Board's recommendation; consequently, Safety Recommendation R-97-38 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Alternate Action."

From: State of Maryland
To: NTSB
Date: 9/30/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/8/2004 7:47:55 AM MC# 2040614 The Railroad Safety Inspection program under the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) was established under the Labor and Employment Article, Title 5.5, Annotated Code of Maryland, Code of Maryland Regulation 09.12.91 to monitor the safety practices of each railroad company operating in Maryland by conducting inspections of railroad track, operating practices and equipment. Currently, the Code of Federal Regulation, 49 CFR Part 659.3:docs no not require a state agency to provide safety oversight for commuter rail services. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) provides federal safety oversight of all commuter rail carriers. The MTA Office Safety and Risk Management implemented an aggressive safety program for MARC. A MARC Safety Officer position was created within the Office of Safety and Risk Management to provide additional safety oversight. Mr. Douglas Simms has held this position for the past three years and has over 28 years of experience as a locomotive engineer for both Conrail and Amtrak. In addition, this individual as a Control Room and lest Supervisor for the MTA's Baltimore Metro. In the past three years, Mr. Simms has trained over 1200 firefighters from the City of Baltimore and the Montgomery, Frederick, Howard, Prince George's, and Baltimore counties in areas including railroad safety, railcar egress, and railcar hazards.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland
Date: 3/21/2003
Response: The Safety Board's investigation of the Silver Spring accident revealed that the CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT), crews that operated MARC trains were not trained in emergency procedures by MARC or CSXT. In fact, no specific carrier-initiated safety assessment of the emergency passenger equipment or its operation had been undertaken, and no emergency preparedness plan had been developed. The Safety Board was concerned about this apparent hands-off approach and concluded that the CSXT/MARC system lacked comprehensive safety oversight to ensure the safety of the traveling public. For that reason, the Safety Board urged the State of Maryland to empower an appropriate state agency with oversight responsibility. The Safety Board has not received any response from the State of Maryland regarding this recommendation, despite a request for such information in October 2001. The Board is interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety, and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. That is why we monitor the implementation of all our recommendations. The Board would appreciate being informed of what action, if any, has been taken or is planned to implement Safety Recommendation R-97-38. If we do not receive any information regarding this recommendation, we will have no alternative but to classify it "Closed--Unacceptable Action/No Response Received." A copy of the recommendation letter and our previous correspondence are enclosed for your reference.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland
Date: 10/15/2001
Response: To date, the Safety Board has not received any response from the State of Maryland, and we would appreciate being informed of what action, if any, has been taken to implement Safety Recommendation R-97-38. If the State of Maryland has not taken action and the Safety Board can be of any assistance in this regard, please contact Mr. Steve Blackistone at (202) 314-6005 or Mr. Kevin Quinlan at (202) 314-6175, of the Board's Safety Advocacy Division. A copy of the recommendation letter is enclosed for your reference.