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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-99-020
Details
Synopsis: ON 3/25/98, ABOUT 4:48 A.M. EASTERN STANDARD TIME, SOUTHBOUND NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORPORATION (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 HUNTING DISTRICT AND THE CONRAIL CHICAGO MAIN LINES CROSS AT GRADE AT THE EAST END OF THE TOWN OF BUTLER, IN. 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 NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORPORATION: CONDUCT A COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT OF THE LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER TRAINING PROGRAM AND REVISE IT, AS NECESSARY, TO ENSURE THAT STUDENT ENGINEERS CONSISTENTLY OPERATE WITH AND ARE MENTORED BY COACH-TRAINED ENGINEERS AND THAT ENGINEER TRAINING REFLECTS ACTUAL OPERATING CONDITIONS.
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: 8/9/2001
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Norfolk Southern Corporation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Norfolk Southern Corporation
Date: 8/9/2001
Response: The Safety Board notes that NS conducted an assessment of the engineer-training program in February 2000 and that based on that assessment, revisions were made to the program in the areas of operating rules, train handling, air brakes and locomotives. The NS System General Road Foreman, or his designee, addresses each engineer training class and emphasizes that students are not to operate a locomotive unless they have verified that the engineer is coach-trained. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-99-20 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: Norfolk Southern Corporation
To: NTSB
Date: 12/27/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 01/03/2001 5:15:39 PM MC# 2010002: An assessment of the NS Locomotive Engineer Training (LET) program was conducted on February 17-24, 2000. Four teams were assembled to analyze and recommend changes and/or improvements. Team members consisted of representatives from Operating Rules, Training, Transportation, System General Road Foreman of Engines, and Mechanical. While the entire program was reviewed to reflect actual operating conditions, particular emphasis was placed in the following areas: l Operating Rules l Train Handling l Air Brakes 0 Locomotives The analysis showed the LET training material to be generally comprehensive and correct. However, the following changes and/or additions are being implemented: l Operating Rules: Change Computer-Based Training lessons to reflect recent rule number changes; remove semaphore examples from signal indications; rephrase information on use of train orders when running against current of traffic. l Train Handling: Add a video showing effect of amperage increasing as speed decreases. Add instructions concerning train handling after an engineer-initiated emergency brake application. Revise lesson on "running away from slack" to include slow speeds and high speeds. Add material on special train handling procedures for increased number of locomotives on head end of train and AC power. l Air Brakes: Explain difference between ABD and AI3 bleed rods. Improve explanation of air pressure in brake cylinders and how long to exhaust. Add explanation of accelerated application valve section of control valves. Update freight car air brake section to include ABDX and DB-60 control valves. l Locomotive: Update lesson on draining cooling water to reflect recent changes, Update Types of Locomotives section to reflect locomotives acquired from Conrail. The System General Road Foreman of Engines, or his designee, continues to address each L.E.T. class, and emphasize to the students they are not to operate a locomotive unless they have verified that the engineer is coach-trained. When the students return to the Division and receive their first OJT schedule they are provided a list of coach trained engineers. We believe the assessment conducted February 17 - 24, 2000 and the revision indicated adequately addresses R-99-20 and brings closure to this recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: Norfolk Southern Corporation
Date: 6/27/2000
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD IS PLEASED TO LEARN THAT THE NS HAS AGREED TO ASSESS ITS LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER TRAINING PROGRAM AND HAS ALSO INITIATED DISCUSSIONS WITH THE OPERATING UNIONS ABOUT DEVELOPING A LET MENTORING PROGRAM. PENDING COMPLETION OF THE ASSESSMENT AND ANY NECESSARY REVISIONS, THE SAFETY BOARD HAS CLASSIFIED R-99-20 "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: Norfolk Southern Corporation
To: NTSB
Date: 10/26/1999
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/28/1999 4:23:24 PM MC# 991193 NS WILL CONDUCT AN ASSESSMENT OF ITS LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER TRAINING PROGRAM, BOTH FROM CLASSROOM AND OJT PERSPECTIVES. NS HAS ALSO INITIATED DISCUSSIONS WITH THE BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS (BLE) AND UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION (UTU) TOWARD THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN LET MENTORING PROGRAM SEPARATE AND APART FROM THE ENGINEER-AS-COACH PROGRAM.