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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.
THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: DIRECT HARMON INDUSTRIES AND THE RAILROAD CARRIERS TO IDENTIFY AND REPLACE ALL FAULTY ELECTRO CODE 4 CAPACITORS. ENSURE, THROUGH FOLLOWUP INSPECTIONS, THAT CORRECTIVE ACTIONS HAVE BEEN TAKEN.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Action
Butler, IN, United States
Collision of Norfolk Southern Corporation Train 255L5 with Consolidated Rail Corporation Train TV 220
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Safety Recommendation History
The Safety Board appreciates the update regarding the FRA's follow-up process to ensure that the affected capacitors have been identified and are being replaced. We note that the FRA has worked closely with the railroads and Harmon Industries on this program since the Notice of Safety Advisory No. 2000-2 was published in June 2000, advising the rail industry of the need to immediately identify and replace or upgrade the capacitors in question. As these actions fully respond to the Board's recommendation, Safety Recommendation R-99-14 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."
Letter Mail Controlled 01/03/2003 10:11:42 AM MC# 2030018 We had previously advised the Safety Board that in response to this safety recommendation, FRA would be issuing a Notice of Safety Advisory to the rail industry recommending that each railroad having a signal system using any "Electra Code 4"or "Electra Code 4 Plus," intermediate signal units to immediately accomplish the following: 1. Identify each 211S, 211SRP, and 212A module within their signal system, 2. Replace or upgrade every 211S, 211SRP, or 212A module within their signal system as soon as possible, and 3. Each railroad having 211S, 211SRP, or 212A modules contact Harmon Industries Riverside Operations Repair and Return Facility for further information prrtaining to upgrades. FRA had also previously advised the Safety Board that once sufficient time had elapsed after issuance of this Notice of Safely Advisory, FRA would commence follow-up inspections to ensure that the identified modules have been replaced or upgraded. Since June 2, 2000, when the Notice of Safety Advisory No. 2000-2 was published in the Federal Register, FRA has been working with the railroads and Harmon Industries to ensure that the identified modules are replaced or upgraded. Harmon Industries, now a subsidiary of GE Transportation Systems (GETS), issued Product Improvement Announcement No. 98-101 (PIA 98-101), which identifies 211S and 211SRP modules manufactured between March 1994 and March 1998, and all 212A modules as eligible for upgrade/exchange to improve performance and reliability. The Electra Code units containing these modules are identified by a seven or eight digit serial number and date code that appears on the left side of the Electra Code chassis. Once identified, these modules are being upgraded/exchanged at no charge to the railroad. GETS initiates the process by providing each railroad with the identified modules a batch of upgraded seed modules. The seed modules are installed and the batch of modules that were removed are returned to GETS and upgraded. This process will continue until all the identified modules have been upgrade/exchanged. Upgraded 211 modules can be identified by a revision level sticker bearing the letter "E" placed on the component side of the module. Upgraded 212 modules can be identified by a revision level sticker bearing the letter "C" placed on the component side of the module. Records maintained by GETS indicate that approximately 75 percent of the identified 211 and 212 modules have been upgraded/exchanged. ln order to verify that identified modules have been replaced or upgraded, FRA has begun the follow-up process. The Signal & Train Control (S&TC) Specialist in all eight FRA regions have contacted all railroads within their respective region and verified that they are aware of this issue and that appropriate action has been taken. Any railroad that has not completed this task has been asked to provide a projected completion date. Additionally, the S&TC Specialists have informed all S&TC Inspectors of the issue and have asked that inspections of intermediate signal locations include a check of the Electra Code units to verify that units subject to PIA 98-101 at those locations have been upgraded. Based upon the actions that FRA has taken, and continues to take to ensure that all identified 211/212 modules have been or will be upgraded or replaced in the near future, we respectfully request that the Safety Board classify Safety Recommendation R-99-14 as "Closed--Acceptable Action."
The Safety Board is pleased to learn that the FRA issued a Notice of Safety Advisory, on June 2, 2000, to the rail industry recommending that each railroad using the Harmon Industries Module to identify and address reliability concerns. We also note the FRA intention to follow up on actions taken by the railroads. Pending assurances that satisfactory corrective action has been taken, Safety Recommendation R-99-14 is classified "Open-Acceptable Response."
Letter Mail Controlled 01/19/2000 2:39:50 PM MC# 2000091: FRA is issuing a Notice of Safety Advisory to address this concern. This Advisory is presently in the clearance process for circulation at the present time. FRA is strongly recommending that each railroad having a signal system which uses any "Electra Code 4" or "Electra Code 4 Plus" intermediate signal unit immediately do the following: 1. Identify each 211 S, 2 11 SW, and 2 12A module within their signal system. 2. Replace or upgrade every 211 S, 2 11 SRP, or 212A module within their signal system as soon as possible. Each railroad having 2 1 lD, 211 SRP, or 2 12A modules contact Harmon Industries Riverside Operations Repair and Return Facility for further information pertaining to upgrades. Once FRA has issued the Notice of Safety Advisory to the rail industry, and after sufficient time has elapsed to allow the railroad industry to take the responsive actions, we will commence follow-up inspections to ensure that the identified modules have been replaced or upgraded. Therefore, until we have issued this Notice of Safety Advisory, FRA respectfully requests the Board consider classifying Safety Recommendation R-99-14 as "Open-Acceptable Response."
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