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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-97-044
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 BALTIMORE COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, THE BALTIMORE CITY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, THE METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS, THE JEFFERSON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, AND THE BERKELEY COUNTY COMMISSIONERS: CONDUCT, IN COOPERATION WITH THE CSX TRANSPORTATION INC. AND THE MARYLAND MASS TRANSIT ADMINISTRAITON/MARYLAND RAIL COMMUTER, PERIODIC DISASTER DRILLS TO ASSESS THEIR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANS, TO REINFORCE AND EVALUATE THEIR EMERGENCY TRAINING, AND TO TEST THE COMMUNICATION WITH THE ORGANIZATIONS.
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: 6/22/2004
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Maryland, City of Baltimore (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Maryland, County of Baltimore, Emergency Agency (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of West Virginia, County of Berkeley, Commissioners (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
State of West Virginia, County of Jefferson, Commission (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s): Communication, Firefighting, Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of West Virginia, County of Berkeley, Commissioners
Date: 7/31/2003
Response: The Safety Board appreciates the information you provided relating to the efforts of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) for both Berkeley and Jefferson counties to conduct annual disaster drills to evaluate the adequacy of its emergency response. We also note that you have attempted to include the Maryland Mass Transit Administration (MTA) in these drills. In correspondence with the MTA on this issue, the Safety Board was informed that the MTA had committed to holding disaster drills on an annual basis, alternating locations among the three operating routes. We are enclosing copies of correspondence with the MTA on this issue, which provides additional contact information. We are also sending a copy of this letter to Mr. Robert L. Smith, MTA Administrator. You may wish to visit the MTA's Web site at www.mtamaryland.com. In view of the initiatives taken by the LEPC for Berkeley and Jefferson counties to conduct disaster drills as called for in the Board's recommendation, despite the lack of participation by the MTA, Safety Recommendation R-97-44 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Alternate Action."

From: State of West Virginia, County of Berkeley, Commissioners
To: NTSB
Date: 4/4/2003
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 4/16/2003 11:37:06 AM MC# 2030204 The LEPC, Local Emergency Planning Committee for both Berkeley and Jefferson counties have annual drills on just such incidents as that detailed in your correspondence. They have made numerous attempts to include the Maryland Mass Transit in those plans, but have been rebuffed in the attempt. Should you have the ability to exert control over them to require their participation in our annual exercises, we would be most appreciative. If your staff can provide a contact name and number of an individual with the Maryland Mass Transit that can assure cooperation at the local level, we will be happy to schedule the disaster drill recommended by your correspondence.

From: NTSB
To: State of West Virginia, County of Berkeley, Commissioners
Date: 3/20/2003
Response: In September 1997, the Berkeley County Commissioners informed the Safety Board that work was in progress to develop a disaster scenario to test the region's ability to respond to an accident of the magnitude of the Silver Spring accident. In a letter dated December 12, 1997, the Board acknowledged the positive action being taken by Berkeley County and requested to be kept informed of progress in developing this disaster scenario. Safety Recommendation R-97-44 was classified "Open--Acceptable Response" pending receipt of that update. However, the Board has not received a further update on this effort. The Board received information from the Maryland Mass Transit Administration that it intended to schedule drills with all government entities through which Maryland Rail Commuter trains operate, including Berkeley County; however, we have never received verification that these drills were actually conducted with Berkeley County. The Safety 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-97-44. If we do not receive any information regarding this recommendation, we will have no alternative but to classify it "Closed--Unacceptable Action." A copy of the recommendation letter and our previous correspondence are enclosed for your reference.

From: NTSB
To: State of West Virginia, County of Berkeley, Commissioners
Date: 10/2/2001
Response: On September 23, 1997, the Berkeley County Commissioners responded that work was in progress to develop a disaster scenario. Pending the Safety Board's review of the Berkeley County disaster scenario, Safety Recommendation R-97-44 was classified "Open--Acceptable Response" on December 12, 1997. Since then, the Board has not received a further update on the Berkeley County Commissioners' progress on this recommendation. The Safety Board is vitally 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. A copy of the recommendation letter is enclosed for your reference. Please address your response to Ms. Marion C. Blakey, Chairman, and refer to the recommendation by number.

From: NTSB
To: State of West Virginia, County of Berkeley, Commissioners
Date: 12/12/1997
Response: THE BOARD IS PLEAED TO LEARN THAT THE BERKELEY COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES & THE LOCAL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE ARE IN AGREEMENT WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION. PENDING A REVIEW OF YOUR DISASTER SCENARIO, THE BOARD HAS CLASSIFIED R-97-44 "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: State of West Virginia, County of Berkeley, Commissioners
To: NTSB
Date: 9/23/1997
Response: MR. STEPHAN S. ALLEN'S DIRECTOR OF BERKELEY COUNTY'S OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES BY LETTER DATED 9/23/97, STATED THAT THE OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES & LOCAL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE (OES/LEPC) CONDUCTS ANNUAL DISASTER EXERCISES TO TEST THEIR COMMUNITY'S EMERGENCY RESPONSE GROUP'S PREPAREDNESS TO RESPOND TO VARIOUS TYPES OF DISASTERS. BERKELEY COUNTY'S OES/LEPC IS CURRENTLY IS AT WORK DEVELOPING A DISASTER SCENARIO TO, AGAIN, TEST THE COMMUNITY'S HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS ABILITY TO RESPOND TO A EMERGENCY OF THAT MAGNITUDE. THEY WOULD WELCOME CSXT & MTA/MARC PARTICIPATION IN THIS EFFORT.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, County of Baltimore, Emergency Agency
Date: 3/22/2002
Response: Chief Hohman's response indicates that Baltimore County has coordinated with the rail lines as well as various other organizations to review emergency preparedness plans and to engage in emergency training and drills as requested in the recommendation. These efforts indicate ongoing communication among the concerned agencies and rail lines. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-97-44 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of Maryland, County of Baltimore, Emergency Agency
To: NTSB
Date: 10/25/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 01/14/2002 12:55:32 PM MC# 2020038 Baltimore County trains alongside the individuals that are responsible for the safety of passengers and. for the public residing in travel corridors. We have reviewed and approved plans from the MARC Lines and work with many varied organizations developing plans to meet specific criteria on an ongoing basis. This work takes place within our county limits and extends to Pennsylvania, and even nationally when we work with the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP), crossing not only county lines, but state boundaries as well. Annual exercises are conducted with the rail lines; we participate at least annually in the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) rail exercise, and our specialty team attends training each year. Detailed plans are on file in the Baltimore County Office of Emergency Preparedness for the MARC Lines. These plans are reviewed by qualified staff and approved for our use. Our exercise program consists of many types of incidents and involves multi-jurisdictional efforts. The South Baltimore Industrial Mutual Aid Plan (SBIMAP), our Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP), and Radiological Emergency Response Plan (RERP), are only a few of the exercises we participate in annually. Snowstorms, ice storms, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes are a few of the natural disasters we experience.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, County of Baltimore, Emergency Agency
Date: 10/19/2001
Response: The Safety Board would appreciate being informed of what action, if any, has been taken or is planned to implement Safety Recommendation R-97-44. The Board is vitally 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.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, City of Baltimore
Date: 6/22/2004
Response: recommendation has been closed in an acceptable status to all addressees except the Baltimore City Emergency Management Agency. Despite repeated efforts by the Board, a response has never been received from that agency regarding this issue. Nevertheless, the Safety Board is aware, through correspondence with the other recipients of this safety recommendation, that the Maryland Mass Transit Administration/MARC held an emergency preparedness drill in June 2001, and documentation provided to the Board indicated that the Baltimore City Police and Fire Departments participated in the disaster drill. The Board is also aware that the Baltimore City Emergency Management Agency has held disaster drills with rail carriers operating within the city jurisdiction. Given this information, the Board believes that the Baltimore City Emergency Management Agency has met the intent of this recommendation. The Board also wishes to point out that after this accident, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a regulation (ยง239.103) that requires railroads operating passenger train service to conduct periodic full-scale emergency simulations in conjunction with local emergency responders. The administration of the Mayor's office has changed since this recommendation was issued in 1997. A letter to the Mayor of Baltimore regarding the classification of a 7-year-old safety recommendation would have little meaning and, therefore, the Board will administratively close Safety Recommendation R-97-44 as "Closed-Acceptable Action."

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, City of Baltimore
Date: 3/21/2003
Response: The Safety Board has never received a response to this recommendation despite a request for such information in October 2001. The Board did receive information from the Maryland Mass Transit Administration that it intended to schedule drills with all government entities through which Maryland Rail Commuter trains operate, including the City of Baltimore. However, we have never received verification that these drills were actually conducted with the City of Baltimore. 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-97-44. If we do not receive any information regarding this recommendation, we will have no alternative but to classify this recommendation "Closed--Unacceptable Action/No Response Received." A copy of the recommendation letter and our previous request for information are enclosed for your reference.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, City of Baltimore
Date: 10/2/2001
Response: The Safety Board would appreciate being informed of what action, if any, has been taken or is planned to implement Safety Recommendation R-97-44. The Board is vitally 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. A copy of the recommendation letter is enclosed for your reference. Please address your response to Ms. Marion C. Blakey, Chairman, and refer to the recommendation by number.

From: NTSB
To: State of West Virginia, County of Jefferson, Commission
Date: 7/31/2003
Response: The Safety Board appreciates the information you provided relating to the efforts of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) for both Berkeley and Jefferson counties to conduct annual disaster drills to evaluate the adequacy of its emergency response. We also note that you have attempted to include the Maryland Mass Transit Administration (MTA) in these drills. In correspondence with the MTA on this issue, the Safety Board was informed that the MTA had committed to holding disaster drills on an annual basis, alternating locations among the three operating routes. We are enclosing copies of correspondence with the MTA on this issue, which provides additional contact information. We are also sending a copy of this letter to Mr. Robert L. Smith, MTA Administrator. You may wish to visit the MTA's Web site at www.mtamaryland.com. In view of the initiatives taken by the LEPC for Berkeley and Jefferson counties to conduct disaster drills as called for in the Board's recommendation, despite the lack of participation by the MTA, Safety Recommendation R-97-44 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Alternate Action."

From: State of West Virginia, County of Jefferson, Commission
To: NTSB
Date: 4/4/2003
Response: The LEPC, Local Emergency Planning Committee for both Berkeley and Jefferson counties have annual drills on just such incidents as that detailed in your correspondence. They have made numerous attempts to include the Maryland Mass Transit in those plans, but have been rebuffed in the attempt. Should you have the ability to exert control over them to require their participation in our annual exercises, we would be most appreciative. If your staff can provide a contact name and number of an individual with the Maryland Mass Transit that can assure cooperation at the local level, we will be happy to schedule the disaster drill recommended by your correspondence. We thank you for this opportunity to transmit our concerns at the local level and to bring about compliance with your federal recommendations.

From: NTSB
To: State of West Virginia, County of Jefferson, Commission
Date: 3/20/2003
Response: The Safety Board has never received a response to this recommendation despite a request for such information in October 2001. The Board did receive information from the Maryland Mass Transit Administration that it intended to schedule drills with all government entities through which Maryland Rail Commuter trains operate, including Jefferson County. However, we have never received verification that these drills were actually conducted with Jefferson County. 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-97-44. 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 is enclosed for your reference.

From: NTSB
To: State of West Virginia, County of Jefferson, Commission
Date: 10/2/2001
Response: The Safety Board would appreciate being informed of what action, if any, has been taken or is planned to implement Safety Recommendation R-97-44. The Board is vitally 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. A copy of the recommendation letter is enclosed for your reference. Please address your response to Ms. Marion C. Blakey, Chairman, and reference the above recommendation in your letter.

From: NTSB
To: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
Date: 12/10/2001
Response: On September 17, 1997, the COG responded that plans were being made for an annual disaster drill, and the Safety Board classified Safety Recommendation R-97-44 "Open--Acceptable Response." The Safety Board was recently made aware, by the Maryland Mass Transit Administration (MTA), that in 2000, the COG participated with the MTA in simulating a combined passenger train and hazardous material spill from a freight train, and in post-accident debriefings to assess emergency personnel, railroad, and responses to actual incidents. The Safety Board appreciates the actions taken by the COG. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-97-44 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
To: NTSB
Date: 5/25/2001
Response: NTSB classified R-97-35, issued to the Maryland Mass Transit Administration, as "Closed--Acceptable Action." They conducted disaster drills simulating a passenger train derailment and fire in 1998 with Montgomery County and in 1999 with Howard County. Likewise in 2000, a drill was conducted with the Washington Council of Governments, simulating a combined passenger train and hazardous material spill from a freight train, and post-accident debriefings were conducted by the MTA in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000 to assess emergency personnel, railroad, and MTA responses to actual incidents.

From: NTSB
To: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
Date: 12/3/1997
Response: THE BOARD IS PLEASED TO LEARN THAT THE COG HAS INVITED THE CSXT & MARC, AS WELL AS THE VIRGINIA RAILWAY EXPRESS, TO PLAN FOR ANNUAL DISASTER DRILLS TO BEGIN IN 1998. WE WOULD APPRECIATE BEING NOTIFIED ONCE THE 1998 DISASTER DRILL HAS BEEN SCHEDULED. PENDING COMPLETION OF THE COOPERATIVE EFFORT, THE BOARD HAS CLASSIFIED R-97-44 "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
To: NTSB
Date: 9/17/1997
Response: THE COG AT THEIR BI-MONTHLY ON 9/12/97, APPROVED SCHEDULING DISASTER DRILLS WITH CSX & MTA/MARC INCLUDING VRE. A SUBCOMMITTEE HAS INVITED CSX, MARC, & VRE TO THE NEXT MEETING TO BEGIN PLANNING FOR DISASTER DRILLS IN 1998. FURTHER, BECAUSE OF THIS ADDED RESPONSIBILITY, THE METRO LIAISON'S NAME HAS BEEN CHANGED TO RAIL SAFETY COMMITTEE.