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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-99-012
Details
Synopsis: ON 3/25/98, ABOUT 4:48 A.M. EASTERN STANDARD TIME, SOUTHBOUND NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP. (NORFOLK SOUTHERN) TRAIN 255L5, WHICH WAS EN ROUTE TO FORT WAYNE, INDIANA, STRUCK EASTBOUND CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORP. (CONRAIL) TRAIN TV 220, WHICH WAS EN ROUTE TO COLUMBUS, OHIO. THE COLLISION OCCURRED WHERE THE NORFOLK SOUTHERN HUNTINGTON DISTRICT AND THE CONRAIL CHICAGO MAIN LINES CROSS AT GRADE AT THE EAST END OF THE TOWN OF BUTLER, INDIANA. BOTH LOCOMOTIVES AND FIVE CARS FROM THE NORFOLK SOUTHERN TRAIN DERAILED, AND THREE CARS FROM THE CONRAIL TRAIN, TWO WITH MULTIPLE STACKED PLATFORMS, DERAILED. THE NORFOLK SOUTHERN CONDUCTOR WAS KILLED; THE ENGINEER AND STUDENT ENGINEER SUSTAINED MINOR INJURIES. THE TWO CONRAIL CREWMEMBERS WERE NOT INJURED.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: REVIEW NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S 49 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS 240 SUBMISSION, CERTIFICATION OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS, SPECIFICALLY "SECTION 5: TRAINING, TESTING, AND EVALUATING PERSONS NOT PREVIOUSLY CERTIFIED," TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE COMPANY'S TRAINING PROGRAM IS ADEQUATE FOR TRAINING NEW ENGINEERS AND REQUIRE THAT ANY DEFICIENCIES FOUND BE CORRECTED.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Butler, IN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: CHI98FR009
Accident Reports: Collision of Norfolk Southern Corporation Train 255L5 with Consolidated Rail Corporation Train TV 220
Report #: RAR-99-02
Accident Date: 3/25/1998
Issue Date: 7/29/1999
Date Closed: 8/17/2000
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 8/17/2000
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD IS PLEASED TO LEARN THAT THE FRA COMPLETED THE RECOMMENDED REVIEW OF THE NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORPORATION'S (NS) LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER TRAINING PROGRAM AND DETERMINED THE PROGRAM TO BE ADEQUATE FOR TRAINING NEW ENGINEERS. WE NOTE THE FRA'S CONCLUSION THAT PROGRAMS ARE ONLY EFFECTIVE IF FULLY IMPLEMENTED AND GIVEN PROPER OVERSIGHT. THE SAFETY BOARD FEELS THAT THE FRA'S LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER CERTIFICATION PROGRAM IS A VITAL SAFETY PROGRAM THAT DEMANDS THOROUGH OVERSIGHT BY THE FRA TO PREVENT FUTURE ACCIDENTS. BASED ON THE FRA'S ACTIONS, R-99-12 IS CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/12/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 01/19/2000 2:39:50 PM MC# 2000091 NS'S ENGINEER CERTIFICATION PROGRAM WAS SUBMITTED TO FRA IN NOVEMBER 1991. THE PROGRAM WAS REVIEWED AND APPROVED. IN 1995, FOLLOWING FRA INSPECTION ACTIVITY, NS MODIFIED AND RESUBMITTED THE PROGRAM. THE PROGRAM HAS GONE UNCHANGED SINCE THAT TIME. FOLLOWING THIS RECOMMENDATION BY THE BOARD, FRA HAS REVIEWED THE PROGRAM, SPECIFICALLY SECTION 5, AND BELIEVES THE PROGRAM COMPLIES WITH THE REGULATION. THE PROGRAM COVERS ALL SUBJECT MATTER SPECIFIED. REGARDING FEEDBACK CONCERNS OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE, THE NS PROGRAM REQUIRES THAT STUDENT ENGINEERS RECEIVE FIVE SEPARATE "SKILL PERFORMANCE TESTS" DURING PHASE II OR THE HANDS-ON PORTION OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM. FRA NOTES THAT THE STUDENT ENGINEER HAD NOT YET COMPLETED ALL OF HIS TRAINING AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT, WHICH MAY EXPLAIN WHY HE WAS DEFICIENT IN SOME ASPECTS OF TRAINING. FURTHER, A STUDENT ENGINEER MAY OPERATE ONLY UNDER DIRECT AND IMMEDIATE SUPERVISION OF AN INSTRUCTOR ENGINEER (49 CFR 240.107(C)(3). NS FAILED TO ADHERE TO THIS EXPRESS REQUIREMENT OF THE REGULATION IN THIS INSTANCE. FRA WILL MONITOR FUTURE COMPLIANCE BY NS TO PREVENT THIS SITUATION FROM RECURRING. FRA IS AWARE THAT ANY OF THESE PROGRAMS ARE ONLY EFFECTIVE IF THEY ARE FULLY IMPLEMENTED AND GIVEN PROPER OVERSIGHT. FRA ROUTINELY CONDUCTS AUDITS OF ENGINEER CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS, AND WILL MONITOR NS TRAINING ACTIVITIES TO ASSURE THE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM IS COMPLIED WITH. FRA HAS TAKEN THE ACTIONS RECOMMENDED BY THE BOARD, AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO IN THE FUTURE, NOT ONLY ON NS, BUT ALSO WITH ALL RAILROADS IN THE NATION. BASED UPON OUR ACTIONS, FRA RESPECTFULLY REQUESTS THAT THE BOARD CONSIDER CLASSIFYING R-99-12 AS "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."