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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-98-014
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 & 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 & 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 & 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 & 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 UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD: EQUIP ALL LEAD OR CONTROLLING LOCOMOTIVE UNITS WITH REAL-TIME DISPLAYS CAPABLE OF INDICATING TO THE ENGINEER THE DYNAMIC BRAKE CONDITION ON EACH TRAILING LOCOMOTIVE UNIT IN THE CONSIST.
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: 6/5/2001
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Union Pacific (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Union Pacific
Date: 6/5/2001
Response: With respect to R-98-13, the UP points out that locomotive maintenance instructions require that the dynamic brake circuit be tested and operational prior to dispatching any locomotive. With respect to R-98-14, UP has outlined in detail its reasons for using the accelerometer to provide dynamic train control. The Safety Board is aware that the final rule for “Brake System Safety Standards for Freight and Other Non-Passenger Trains and Equipment,” revising Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 229, 231, and 232 was published in the January 17, 2001, issue of the Federal Register (Volume 66, Number 11). These new standards address the objectives of the Board’s Safety Recommendations R-98-13 and 14, by requiring that the engineer be informed of the condition of the locomotives in the consist and by requiring that the locomotives have the capability of displaying to the engineer the deceleration rate of the train or the total train brake dynamic brake retarding force. Based on UP’s procedures and the issuance of the Brake System Safety Standards, Safety Recommendations R?98-13 and -14 are classified “Closed--Acceptable Action.”

From: Union Pacific
To: NTSB
Date: 12/12/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 12/20/2000 12:24:06 PM MC# 2001797 The primary desire of the NTSB and UPRR is for the crews to be able to maintain control of their trains. The airbrake system is primary for emergency braking operations. Dynamic braking is used as a secondary control system to maintain speed of a train Union Pacific has determined that the best method to provide rate of increase or decrease in speed (regardless of braking method used) is with accelerometer readings (Iden, Affidavit to the FRA, pp. 8-21). The reasons that accelerometer information is superior to dynamic brake status are as follows: O Any cause for unintended train accelerations is indicated by the accelerometer, including (dynamic brake failure, brake line obstructions, dragging equipment, etc.) o Accelerometer output on the lead unit is independent of locomotive consist arrangement. O Acceleration is a common measure. The dynamic brake is measured with electrical current, however, is dependant on locomotive type (Iden, Affidavit pp. 10). O The railroad industry has been using accelerometers for at least 10 years. Therefore, it is a method that is implemented in the industry, and is included as a locomotive “system standard” by the AAR Locomotive Committee.

From: NTSB
To: Union Pacific
Date: 8/16/2000
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD WOULD APPRECIATE LEARNING OF ANY ACTIONS THE UPRR HAS TAKEN OR INTENDS TO TAKE SINCE THE BOARD'S LAST CORRESPONDENCE TO ADDRESS R-98-10, -13, -14, AND -16.

From: NTSB
To: Union Pacific
Date: 4/5/1999
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD UNDERSTANDS THAT THE UP HAS ASKED THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROAD'S (AAR) LOCOMOTIVE COMMITTEE TO PERFORM A REVIEW OF THIS RECOMMENDATION. YOUR RESPONSE HAS NOT CONVINCED THE SAFETY BOARD THAT A REVIEW BY THE AAR'S LOCOMOTIVE COMMITTEE IS A SUITABLE ALTERNATIVE TO INSTALLATION OF THIS EQUIPMENT. PENDING A COMMITMENT FROM THE UP TO INSTALL THE RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT, THE SAFETY BOARD HAS CLASSIFIED R-98-14 "OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: Union Pacific
To: NTSB
Date: 4/15/1998
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 4/20/98 4:17:54 PM MC# 980493 THIS RECOMMENDATION IS UNDER REVIEW BY THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS LOCOMOTIVE COMMITTEE FOR HANDLING ON AN INDUSTRY-WIDE BASIS.