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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-98-002
Details
Synopsis: ON 1/12/97, ABOUT 11:52 A.M. PACIFIC STANDARD TIME, THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD (UP) UNIT FREIGHT TRAIN 6205 WEST DERAILED 68 CARS ON THE UP LOS ANGELES SUBDIVISION, MILEPOST (MP) 238.7, NEAR KELSO, CALIFORNIA. THE TRAIN CONSISTED OF 3 LOCOMOTIVE UNITS AND 75 LOADED COVERED HOPPER CARS. WHILE DESCENDING CIMA HILL, THE ENGINEER INADVERTENTLY ACTIVATED THE MULTIPLE-UNIT (MU) ENGINE SHUTDOWN SWITCH, WHICH SHUT DOWN ALL THE LOCOMOTIVE UNIT DIESEL ENGINES AND ELIMINATED THE TRAIN'S DYNAMIC BRAKING CAPABILITY. THE TRAIN RAPIDLY ACCELERATED BEYOND THE 20-MPH AUTHORIZED SPEED LIMIT DESPITE THE ENGINEER'S EFFORTS TO INCREASE THE TRAIN'S AIR BRAKING, WHICH THE ENGINEER PLACE IN EMERGENCY 1 MINUTE AND 2 SECONDS AFTER DYNAMIC BRAKING LOSS. THE TRAIN'S CONSIST WEIGHT WAS LISTED AT AN AVERAGE OF 13 TONS PER CAR LESS THAN THE TRAIN ACTUALLY WEIGHED. THE TRAIN EVENTUALLY REACHED A SPEED OF 72 MPH AND DERAILED 68 OF ITS 75 CARS WHILE EXITING A SIDING NEAR KELSO, CLAIFORNIA. NO FATALITIES, INJURIES FIRES, OR HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RELEASES RESULTED FROM THE ACCIDENT. THE TOTAL DAMAGE COST WAS $4,376,400.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FRA: REQUIRE RAILROAD TO ENSURE THAT THE ACTUAL LOADED WEIGHTS OF CARS IN A TRAIN ARE PROVIDED THE TRAINCREW OR, IF THE LOADED WEIGHTS ARE UNKNOWN, TO IMPLEMENT A METHOD TO ENSURE THAT THE MAXIMUM LOADED WEIGHT IS ASSIGNED.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Kelso, CA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: LAX97FR004
Accident Reports: Derailment of Union Pacific Railroad Unit Freight Train 6205 West
Report #: RAR-98-01
Accident Date: 1/12/1997
Issue Date: 2/25/1998
Date Closed: 3/25/2002
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 3/25/2002
Response: The revised power brake regulations address the issues raised in these four recommendations. Specifically, the issue of providing traincrews with the weight of their train (R-98-2) is covered by 49 CFR 232.111(b)(1), which calls for traincrews taking charge of a train to be provided with the total weight and length of the train. The issues of train handling and preserving a margin of stopping ability should a dynamic brake fail (R-98-3) are covered by 49 CFR 232.109(j)(1) and (2). This section requires that the operating rules for trains with brake systems that include dynamic braking ensure that the friction brakes are sufficient to stop the train safely under all operating conditions without the aid of dynamic brakes. The operating rules will also require that any train, when descending a grade of 1 percent or greater, be brought to a stop, by an emergency brake application if necessary, when the train's speed exceeds its maximum authorized speed by more than 5 miles per hour. The issue of providing engineers with information about the condition of dynamic brakes (R-98-6) is addressed in 49 CFR 232.109(g)(1) and (2) and 232.109(h)(1) and (2). New locomotives ordered on or after August 1, 2002, must be designed to display the available total train dynamic brake retarding force at various speed increments in the cab of the lead locomotive. Rebuilt locomotives must display either the train deceleration rate or the available total train dynamic brake retarding force. The issue in Safety Recommendation R-98-7 is specifically addressed by 49 CFR 232.203(d), which states that railroads operating trains in conditions requiring the setting of air brake pressure retaining valves shall adopt a training program for employees that covers the proper use of retainers. Based on these provisions of the revised power brake regulations, Safety Recommendations R-98-2, R-98-3, and R-98-7 are classified "Closed--Acceptable Action," and R-98-6 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Alternate Action."

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 1/11/2000
Response: Pending Safety Board review of the rule, the Safety Board has Classified Safety Recommendation R-98-2 "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/17/1999
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 3/31/99 4:10:10 PM MC# 990337