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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-98-009
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 ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS: CARRY OUT RESEARCH INVESTIGATION, AND ANALYSIS TO DETERMINE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED TRAIN SPEEDS FOR SAFE OPERATION OF TRAINS OF ALL WEIGHTS, USING SPEED-BASED MARGINS OF SAFETY THAT CAN BE EASILY MEASURED BY TRAINCREWS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate 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: 11/24/2004
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Association of American Railroads (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 2/17/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 2/22/2005 1:36:17 PM MC# 2050075

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 11/24/2004
Response: On January 17, 2002, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a final rule on Brake System Safety Standards for Freight and Other Non-Passenger Trains and Equipment: End-of-Train Devices. Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 232, §109 requires the following: (j) A railroad operating a train with a brake system that includes dynamic brakes shall adopt and comply with written operating rules governing safe train handling procedures using these dynamic brakes under all operating conditions, which shall be tailored to the specific equipment and territory of the railroad. The railroad's operating rules shall: (1) Ensure that the friction brakes are sufficient by themselves, without the aid of dynamic brakes, to stop the train safely under all operating conditions. (2) Include a "miles-per-hour-overspeed-stop" rule. At a minimum, this rule shall require that any train when descending a section of track with an average grade of one percent or greater over a distance of three continuous miles shall be immediately brought to a stop, by an emergency brake application if necessary, when the train's speed exceeds the maximum authorized speed for that train by more than 5 miles per hour. The FRA's regulations, in essence, require railroads (1) to determine maximum authorized speed under all operating conditions and (2) to be able to bring trains to a stop from those speed using only friction brakes. This final rule, developed with the AAR's participation, constitutes an acceptable alternate method of addressing the recommendation; accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-98-9 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Alternate Action."

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 2/19/2004
Response: On 2/19/2004, Board staff met with representatives from the AAR to discuss this recommendation. At this meeting, the AAR pointed out that the maximum authorized train speed for safe operation of all train weights cannot be easily measured by traincrews except on a case-by-case basis. The variables the AAR discussed were number and type of locomotives, number of cars, weight of train, length of train, grade (undulating), curvature, and others. As a result of the Bloomington, MD accident on 1/30/2000, Safety Recommendations R-02-11 and R-02-12 were issued to the seven Class I railroads. Safety Recommendation R-02-12 stated: Establish procedures to revise steep grade maximum authorized speeds as necessary. Four of the seven Class I railroads met the requirements, and Safety Recommendation R-02-12 was "Closed-Acceptable Action." The AAR stated they would follow up on the three remaining railroads with an open status.

From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 12/6/2000
Response: The Safety Board notes that the AAR requests that these recommendations remain in an "open" posture as the association’s committees consider action. As these recommendations were issued between 2 and 9 years ago, the Safety Board would appreciate receiving a substantive response to all of them within 60 days as to contemplated actions and a schedule to complete such actions. Pending receipt of the requested information within 60 days, the above-listed Safety Recommendations are classified "Open--Acceptable Response." In your reply, please refer to the Safety Recommendations by number.

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 8/21/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 08/22/2000 3:20:51 PM MC# 2001122 The rail industry, through its appropriate committees, is carefully considering the above-referenced recommendation. When that review is completed, I will notify you of the resolution.