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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-06-006
Details
Synopsis: On Wednesday, November 3, 2004, about 12:49 p.m., eastern standard time, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail train 703 collided with train 105 at the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan (Woodley Park) station in Washington, D.C. Train 703 was traveling outbound on the Red-Line segment of the Metrorail system and ascending the grade between the Woodley Park and the Cleveland Park underground stations, when it rolled backwards about 2,246 feet and struck train 105 at a speed of about 36 mph. Train 703 was operating as a nonrevenue train; that is, it was not carrying passengers. Train 105, a revenue train, was in the process of discharging and loading passengers at the Woodley Park station. There were about 70 passengers on board train 105. Some passengers had exited the train just before or during the collision. The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Service transported about 20 persons to local hospitals. Estimated property damages were $3,463,183.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION: Develop minimum crashworthiness standards to prevent the telescoping of transit railcars in collisions and establish a timetable for removing equipment that cannot be modified to meet the new standards.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Unacceptable Response
Mode: Railroad
Location: Washington, DC, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA05MR003
Accident Reports: Collision Between Two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Trains at the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Station
Report #: RAR-06-01
Accident Date: 11/3/2004
Issue Date: 4/19/2006
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FTA (Open - Unacceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FTA
Date: 7/30/2018
Response: We are aware that you announced your proposed National Public Transportation Safety Plan at 81 Federal Register 6372, and that, on January 18, 2017, you published a notice about the plan’s issuance and the comments you had received regarding it at 82 Federal Register 5628. We have reviewed the plan and we did not find any mention of establishing minimum crashworthy standards for light rail transit vehicles. Although the plan encourages transit agencies to adopt the applicable standards from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), these are not FTA-required minimum standards, as recommended. We point out that the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act grants the FTA authority to issue equipment standards; however, if developing new technical standards is not feasible, we suggest that you “incorporate by reference” the ASME standards into the appropriate title and chapter of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Doing so may be considered an acceptable alternative action that satisfies this recommendation. We encourage you to develop minimum crashworthiness standards, as recommended, to enhance the safety of transit system employees and the traveling public. Until you develop such standards or incorporate the ASME standards by reference into 49 CFR, Safety Recommendation R 06-6 is classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FTA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/20/2016
Response: -From Carolyn Flowers, Acting Administrator: In your letter dated October 27, 2015, to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), you requested the status of safety recommendation R-06-6, issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on April 19, 2006. That recommendation pertains to minimum crashworthiness standards to prevent the telescoping of transit railcars in collisions, and a timetable for removing railcars from service that cannot be modified to meet crashworthiness standards. This recommendation arose from the NTSB's investigation of a November 4, 2004 accident in which two rapid rail trains operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) collided with one another at the Woodley Park/Zoo station, injuring 20 people and causing over $3.4 million in property damage. On June 22, 2009 two WMATA rapid rail trains collided with one another near the Fort Totten station, killing eight passengers and the driver of the second train, injuring another 52 persons, and causing $12 million in property damage. The same type of railcar telescoping occurred in both the June 2009 accident and the November 2004 accident. On February 5, 2016, the FTA announced the availability of its proposed National Public Transportation Safety P1an (National Safety Plan), (81 Fed. Reg.63 72). As part of the proposed National Safety Plan, FTA is strongly encouraging all rail fixed guideway public transportation agencies to voluntarily comply with two sets of railcar crashworthiness standards issued by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME): • The Safety Standard for Structural Requirements for Heavy Rail Vehicles (ASME RT-1 2008) • The Safety Standard for Structural Requirements for Light Rail Vehicles (ASME RT-12009) The FTA recognizes that the financial constraints on transit agencies may limit their ability to make these improvements for existing rolling stock in revenue service. Therefore, FTA is encouraging rail transit agencies to meet these standards, to the extent practicable, during vehicle retrofits and overhauls, as well as in the acquisition of new vehicles. Also, in accordance with Section 3020(a)(2)(C)(iv) of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (Pub. L. 114-94 ), FT A now must review the efficacy of these ASME standards for crash worthiness, as part of a larger study of a number of safety standards and protocols used in public transportation systems across the United States. Upon completion, the FTA will consult with the transit industry and the public on the need to establish minimum Federal standards for the crashworthiness of rail transit vehicles. Additionally, for your interest, enclosed please find a copy of a recent report on "Development of a Prototype Retrofit Bumper for Improved Light Rail Vehicle Safety'' issued by the Transit Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis program sponsored by the Transportation Research Board. The FTA provided financial assistance for this report, and will test and validate the designs described therein, in cooperation with the Sacramento Regional Transit District. We will convey the results of our testing and validation throughout the light rail community. We will keep the NTSB informed of FTA's progress on safety recommendation R-06-6.

From: NTSB
To: FTA
Date: 10/27/2015
Response: We are concerned because we have received no information from the FTA since a February 14, 2008, letter regarding your agency’s progress in addressing this over 9-year-old recommendation. We are interested in knowing whether and how you are implementing Safety Recommendation R-06-6, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. Accordingly, we request an update from you as soon as possible regarding your plans or actions to address our recommendation. Pending your timely reply, it will retain its current classification, OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: FTA
Date: 9/29/2010
Response: The NTSB notes that, while it awaits congressional authority to require crashworthiness standards, the FTA plans to revise 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 659 to address this recommendation, in part, by adding a new vehicle safety section to the required System Safety Program Plan elements. We further note that financial support provided to APTA in support of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers has resulted in the issuance of two standards. RT-1 2009 Safety Standard for Structural Requirements for Light Rail Vehicles and RT-2 2008 Safety Standard for Structural Requirements for Heavy Rail Transit Vehicles define requirements for the incorporation of passive safety design concepts related to the performance of the car body of rail transit vehicles in collisions, to enhance passenger safety and to limit and control damage. In addition, TRACS will assist the FTA in developing national standards for rail transit. Consequently, Safety Recommendation R-06-6 is classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FTA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/2/2010
Response: MC# 2100205: - From Peter Rogoff, Administrator: Congress will have to provide FTA with the authority to require crashworthiness standards. However, FTA plans to revise 49 CFR Part 659 to address this recommendation, in part, by adding a new vehicle safety section to the required System Safety Program Plan elements when next revised. FTA has provided financial support to APTA in support of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and two standards have been issued: RT-l 2009 Safety Standard for Structural Requirements for Light Rail Vehicles and RT-2 2008 Safety Standard for Structural Requirements for Heavy Rail Transit Vehicles. The standards apply to car bodies of newly constructed rail transit vehicles for transit passenger service in North America. They define requirements for the incorporation of passive safety design concepts related to the performance of the car body of rail transit vehicles in conditions such as collisions, so as to enhance passenger safety and limit and control damage.

From: NTSB
To: FTA
Date: 9/23/2008
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FTA, in cooperation with APTA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), continues to develop new technical standards for rail transit agencies procuring new light- and heavy-rail vehicles that incorporate crash energy management (CEM) principles. In cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and APTA, the FTA sponsored the development of a purchase specification for commuter rail cab cars equipped with CEM features, used by Metrolink, which can be found on APTA’s CEM website. In addition, through its Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation, the FTA is researching and developing CEM specifications for overhauling the front ends of existing light-rail vehicles to improve crashworthiness in the event of a highway-rail grade crossing collision. A final report on this project is expected in 2009. The Safety Board further notes that in the NPRM discussed above, the FTA is adding a new section to the SSPP, vehicle safety design standards. This section will require each transit agency to provide (1) an inventory of vehicle types comprising its fleet, including design features relating to crashworthiness and the prevention of telescoping, and (2) a timetable for retiring equipment that cannot be modified to meet the new standard. The Board also notes that the FTA has been coordinating with the FRA’s Office of Safety regarding the ways that the FRA uses its Passenger Equipment Safety Standards to classify vehicle performance and crashworthiness. In addition, the FTA is working with APTA and ASME to address the challenges identified with heavy-rail vehicles. The FTA is considering additional changes that could be made to Section 659.31, Hazard Management Process, to require transit agencies to perform a specific telescoping hazard analysis to support decision-making on whether retrofits or rehabilitations would be needed and to submit this analysis to the SSO agency and the FTA. Through the proposed Part 659 revision to the SSPP requirements, the FTA will be able to obtain a detailed inventory of the Nation’s rail transit vehicle fleet and its design characteristics. This initiative is responsive to the Board’s recommendation; accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-06-6 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FTA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/14/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 2/21/2008 9:08:16 AM MC# 2080082: - From James S. Simpson, Administrator: Over the last year, FTA has begun implementing its two-pronged approach proposed for addressing this recommendation. FTA’s approach involves: Over the last year, FTA has begun implementing its two-pronged approach proposed for addressing this recommendation. FTA’s approach involves: 0 Developing specifications for new transit railcar procurements and overhauls to enhance crashworthiness and prevent telescoping, and 0 Using the SSPP required in 49 CFR Part 659 to support the inventory of current rail transit fleets and to identify industry timetables for removing vehicles that do not meet minimum crashworthiness standards. Procurement and Overhaul Specifications For rail transit agencies procuring new light and heavy rail vehicles, FTA is continuing its partnership with APTA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the Standards Committee for Rail Transit Vehicles to develop technical specifications for light and heavy rail vehicles that incorporate Crash Energy Management (CEM) principles. Earlier this year, in partnership with APTA, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and Metrolink, FTA sponsored the development of a purchase specification for commuter rail cab cars equipped with CEM features. This specification, which was actually used by Metrolink, can be found at: http://www.apta~tandards.com/PublishedDocunierits/TrechnicalSpecifications/CrashEnernvManaaement/tabid/l2 l/Default.aspx. Elements of the Metrolink specification can be tailored to support heavy and light rail vehicle procurements. However, to ensure the applicability of CEM features to the rail transit industry, FTA, APTA, and the ASME Committee are working to develop comparable purchase specifications specifically for heavy and light rail vehicles. Drafts of both of these specifications are being refined based on discussions with APTA and ASME. We expect final drafts of both standards by June 2008. FTA, through its Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation (TRI), is also undertaking an ambitious new project to research and develop CEM specifications for overhauling the front ends of existing light rail vehicles, both to improve passenger occupant survival in rail cars and to reduce the effects of an automobile collision with these light rail cars. The research will investigate the use of CEM structures and applications to minimize the consequences of collisions for all parties involved. Research is just getting underway now, with a final report expected in 2009. Inventory of Existing Fleets and Timetables for Removing Vehicles FTA understands that in R-06-6, NTSB is not just concerned with the crashworthiness standards established for the procurement of new vehicles, but also with enhancing the crashworthiness of the Nation’s existing rail transit fleet to prevent telescoping. To this end, as part of the 49 CFR Part 659 rule revision activities discussed in response to R-06-3, FTA will also require another section be added in the rail transit agency System Safety Program Plan. This new section will be called the “vehicle safety design standards” section. It will require each rail transit agency to provide the following information: An inventory of the vehicle types comprising its fleet, including the identification of specific design features relating to crashworthiness and the prevention of telescoping, and The time-frame through which various classes of vehicles with specific design features will be retired from service or retrofitted to a higher standard. Since the October 20, 2006, submission to NTSB, FTA has been coordinating with FRA’s Office of Safety on how FRA classifies vehicle performance and crashworthiness using 49 FRA’s CFR 238 standards. In supporting FRA’s evaluation of recent waiver requests for light rail vehicles proposed to be operated on the general railroad system, we have reviewed FRA’ s process for assessing energy absorption, static compressive force, vertical load, underframe shear, collision post strength, rollover strength, side impact strength, and corner post load resistance on these light rail vehicles and comparing them with 49 CFR Part 238 minimum requirements. We have also been investigating the value of specific vehicle classification measures in predicting the likelihood of telescoping. FTA has also determined that the CEM specifications, while very beneficial for industry and a cornerstone of future vehicle procurements, have limited applicability in the overhaul of existing heavy rail vehicles to prevent telescoping. While we do believe that the CEM specifications have tremendous value for light rail overhaul projects, we also recognize that not all existing heavy railcars can be modified to meet CEM standards. To address the challenges we have identified with heavy rail vehicles, we are working with APTAad AMSE to determine: (1) appropriate predictive measures for telescoping: (2) considerations for retrofitting existing heavy rail fleets to address telescoping concerns; (3) unintended consequences to passenger occupant survival potentially introduced by strengthening structural components to resist telescoping; and, (4) ways to support rail transit agencies in assessing the costs and benefits of making structural enhancements to reduce telescoping. Through the proposed Part 659 revision to the SSPP requirements, FTA will be able to obtain a detailed inventory of the Nation’s rail transit vehicle fleet and its design characteristics. FTA will also collect information on when each class of vehicle is scheduled to be retrofitted or removed. However, this information alone will not be sufficient, to address R-06-6. Therefore, FTA is also considering additional changes that could be made to the hazard management program requirements in 49 CFR Part 659. These changes would focus on rail transit agencies with vehicle fleet design characteristics indicating a vulnerability to telescoping. In its rule revision, FTA is considering requiring these agencies to perform a specific telescoping hazard analysis to support decision-making on whether retrofits or rehabilitations would be needed, and to submit this analysis to the SSO agency and FTA. Because of the small number of telescoping occurrences in the heavy rail industry, we will assess the utility of requiring this type of analysis. We hope to resolve this issue in the next six to nine months with the support of APTA and ASME. The information on the new vehicle safety design standards reported to the SSO agencies and FTA, will be available to NTSB. FTA will also work through its Regional Offices and Project Management Oversight (PMO) Program to ensure that telescoping concerns are addressed in the review of New Start and major capital investment projects involving the procurement or overhaul of rail vehicles. Conclusion I hope our commitment to effectively resolve Safety Recommendations R-06-3 through R-06-6 is evident from the actions we have taken over the past year. We look forward to continuing to work with you and the NTSB on rail transit safety issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (202) 366-4040 if you have any questions or comments regarding this letter. I look forward to a continued partnership with NTSB and the successful resolution of these matters. 0 Developing specifications for new transit railcar procurements and overhauls to enhance crashworthiness and prevent telescoping, and 0 Using the SSPP required in 49 CFR Part 659 to support the inventory of current rail transit fleets and to identify industry timetables for removing vehicles that do not meet minimum crashworthiness standards. Procurement and Overhaul Specifications For rail transit agencies procuring new light and heavy rail vehicles, FTA is continuing its partnership with APTA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the Standards Committee for Rail Transit Vehicles to develop technical specifications for light and heavy rail vehicles that incorporate Crash Energy Management (CEM) principles. Earlier this year, in partnership with APTA, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and Metrolink, FTA sponsored the development of a purchase specification for commuter rail cab cars equipped with CEM features. This specification, which was actually used by Metrolink, can be found at: http://www.apta~tandards.com/PublishedDocunierits/TrechnicalSpecifications/Cras hEnernvManaaement/tabid/l2 l/Defaul t.aspx. Elements of the Metrolink specification can be tailored to support heavy and light rail vehicle procurements. However, to ensure the applicability of CEM features to the rail transit industry, FTA, APTA, and the ASME Committee are working to develop comparable purchase specifications specifically for heavy and light rail vehicles. Drafts of both of these specifications are being refined based on discussions with APTA and ASME. We expect final drafts of both standards by June 2008. FTA, through its Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation (TRI), is also undertaking an ambitious new project to research and develop CEM specifications for overhauling the front ends of existing light rail vehicles, both to improve passenger occupant survival in rail cars and to reduce the effects of an automobile collision with these light rail cars. The research will investigate the use of CEM structures and applications to minimize the consequences of collisions for all parties involved. Research is just getting underway now, with a final report expected in 2009. Inventory of Existing Fleets and Timetables for Removing Vehicles FTA understands that in R-06-6, NTSB is not just concerned with the crashworthiness standards established for the procurement of new vehicles, but also with enhancing the crashworthiness of the Nation’s existing rail transit fleet to prevent telescoping. To this end, as part of the 49 CFR Part 659 rule revision activities discussed in response to R-06- 3, FTA will also require another section be added in the rail transit agency System Safety Program Plan. This new section will be called the “vehicle safety design standards” section. It will require each rail transit agency to provide the following information: An inventory of the vehicle types comprising its fleet, including the identification of specific design features relating to crashworthiness and the prevention of telescoping, and The time-frame through which various classes of vehicles with specific design features will be retired from service or retrofitted to a higher standard. Since the October 20,2006, submission to NTSB, FTA has been coordinating with FRA’s Office of Safety on how FRA classifies vehicle performance and crashworthiness using 49 FRA’s CFR 238 standards. In supporting FRA’s evaluation of recent waiver requests for light rail vehicles proposed to be operated on the general railroad system, we have reviewed FRA’s process for assessing energy absorption, static compressive force, vertical load, underframe shear, collision post strength, rollover strength, side impact strength, and corner post load resistance on these light rail vehicles and comparing them with 49 CFR Part 238 minimum requirements. We have also been investigating the value of specific vehicle classification measures in predicting the likelihood of telescoping. FTA has also determined that the CEM specifications, while very beneficial for industry and a cornerstone of future vehicle procurements, have limited applicability in the overhaul of existing heavy rail vehicles to prevent telescoping. While we do believe that the CEM specifications have tremendous value for light rail overhaul projects, we also recognize that not all existing heavy railcars can be modified to meet CEM standards. To address the challenges we have identified with heavy rail vehicles, we are working with APTAad AMSE to determine: (1) appropriate predictive measures for telescoping: (2) considerations for retrofitting existing heavy rail fleets to address telescoping concerns; (3) unintended consequences to passenger occupant survival potentially introduced by strengthening structural components to resist telescoping; and, (4)ways to support rail transit agencies in assessing the costs and benefits of making structural enhancements to reduce telescoping. Through the proposed Part 659 revision to the SSPP requirements, FTA will be able to obtain a detailed inventory of the Nation’s rail transit vehicle fleet and its design characteristics. FTA will also collect information on when each class of vehicle is scheduled to be retrofitted or removed. However, this information alone will not be sufficient, to address R-06-6. Therefore, FTA is also considering additional changes that could be made to the hazard management program requirements in 49 CFR Part 659. These changes would focus on rail transit agencies with vehicle fleet design characteristics indicating a vulnerability to telescoping. In its rule revision, FTA is considering requiring these agencies to perform a specific telescoping hazard analysis to support decision-making on whether retrofits or rehabilitations would be needed, and to submit this analysis to the SSO agency and FTA. Because of the small number of telescoping occurrences in the heavy rail industry, we will assess the utility of requiring this type of analysis. We hope to resolve this issue in the next six to nine months with the support of APTA and ASME. The information on the new vehicle safety design standards reported to the SSO agencies and FTA, will be available to NTSB. FTA will also work through its Regional Offices and Project Management Oversight (PMO) Program to ensure that telescoping concerns are addressed in the review of New Start and major capital investment projects involving the procurement or overhaul of rail vehicles. Conclusion I hope our commitment to effectively resolve Safety Recommendations R-06-3 through R-06-6 is evident from the actions we have taken over the past year. We look forward to continuing to work with you and the NTSB on rail transit safety issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (202) 366-4040 if you have any questions or comments regarding this letter. I look forward to a continued partnership with NTSB and the successful resolution of these matters.

From: FTA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/2/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 11/7/2007 10:51:33 AM MC# 2070636: - James S. Simpson, Administrator: Thank you for your letter dated October 5, 2007, responding to submissions made by the Federal Transit Administration (ITA) on June 6,2006 and October 20,2006, to address Safety Recommendations R-06-3 through R-06-6. These recommendations resulted from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation of a collision between two trains on November 3, 2004. at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). I especially appreciate receiving this letter in light of the recent hearing regarding NTSB investigation of the July 1 1, 2006, derailment at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and our on-going legal correspondence related to R-02- 19 from an earlier series of accidents at CTA. FTA is committed to working with you and the Board to address critical safety issues in the rail transit industry. To ensure an effective partnership, it is important that we maintain ongoing communication. I have instructed my staff to make response to any communication from NTSB a top priority. We appreciate that NTSB has classified our response to R-06-4 as Closed -Acceptable Action and our response to R-06-3, R-06-5, and R-06-6 as Open -Acceptable Action. We look forward to working with you and the Board to ensure that all NTSB recommendations to FTA are ultimately classified as Closed -Acceptable Action. Over the last year since we submitted our October 20,2006, response to NTSB, we have moved forward to address the Board’s recommendations. In the coming month, I will provide you with an in-depth update of our activities, including a description of initiatives to develop consensus-based standards for hours of service, emergency features for rail transit cars, and procurement specifications for heavy and light rail vehicles. While implementation of these consensus-based standards is voluntary, we are working closely with the American Public Transportation Association to develop new strategies and incentives to encourage their wide-spread adoption in the rail transit industry. Also, I will provide a status update regarding FTA’s activities to revise 49 CFR Part 659 to address the activities we identified in our October 20, 2006, response regarding R-06-3 and R-06-6. Finally, I will describe FTA’s activities to provide on-going safety oversight to the Tri-State Oversight Committee and WMATA. Thank you again for conveying the Board’s classification of FTA’s response to Safety Recommendations R-06-3 through R-06-6. We look forward sharing our progress with you, and to continuing to work with you and the Board on rail transit safety issues.

From: NTSB
To: FTA
Date: 10/5/2007
Response: Safety Board notes that, although the FTA maintains it does not have the authority to regulate vehicle design or equipment standards or to require the removal of "non-compliant" equipment from service, the agency is currently funding the development of consensus-based standards for both light rail and heavy rail vehicle crashworthiness by creating an inventory of transit vehicles, which includes identification of specific design features relating to crashworthiness and the prevention of telescoping. The Safety Board also notes that the FTA proposes revising its SSO program to include "vehicle safety design standards" as a section of a rail transit agency’s SSPP. The FTA proposes to (1) create an inventory of the nation’s heavy and light rail transit vehicles, identifying specific design features related to crashworthiness and the prevention of telescoping, and (2) identify the timeframe through which various classes of vehicles with specific design features will be retired from service or retrofitted to meet a higher standard. Additionally, the FTA will review the possibility of setting recommended guidelines for minimum crashworthiness standards and telescoping prevention in light and heavy railcars. However, the FTA states that, since most light and heavy railcars are designed for a minimum of 40 years of useful life, and since new car procurements often take 5 to 7 years at a cost of between $1 and $3 million per car, it is unlikely that the industry will be able to remove noncompliant vehicles within a short timeframe. The Safety Board notes that the FTA will work through its Regional Offices and Project Management Oversight Program to ensure that this issue is addressed in the review of new start and major capital investment projects involving rail vehicles. The FTA will also address the need for these standards in rehabilitated rail vehicles through the agency’s "Construction Roundtables," which bring together key decision makers from all rail systems. The Safety Board would like to be notified as progress is made on the activities the FTA has outlined. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation R-06-6 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FTA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/20/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/30/2006 11:33:44 AM MC# 2060532: - From James S. Simpson, Administrator: In making recommendation R -06-6, NTSB notes that the failure of the carbody (underframe) end structure of the WMATA 1000-series cars makes them susceptible to telescoping and potentially subject to a catastrophic compromise of the occupant survival space. NTSB further states that rail cars should be designed with crashworthiness components for absorbing maximum energy in a collision and to transmit minimum acceleration to passengers without override or telescoping, as found in the current WMATA 5000-series railcars and specified for the 6000-series cars. NTSB also cites Federal Railroad Administration regulations (49 CFR Part 238), which require carbody structural provisions to reduce the propensity of carbody telescoping during severe end structure collisions. As explained to NTSB in previous responses regarding recommendations for event recorders on rail transit: vehicles (R-96-046 and R-02-019), FTA does not have the authority to establish regulate vehicle design or equipment standards or to require the removal of "non-compliant" equipment from service. However, FTA remains aware of the importance of setting voluntary vehicle design standards, developed through a consensus-based process, and of monitoring the capabilities of the nationwide rail transit vehicle fleet to sustain crashes and protect passengers. To support this need in industry, FTA in partnership with TCRP, APTA and ASME, is currently funding the development of consensus-based standards for both light rail and heavy rail vehicle crashworthiness. Drafts of these standards are currently available; however, much work remains to be done. The initial thrust for developing these standards has been the investigation of design features sufficient to support the joint operation of light rail vehicles and commuter rail and freight rail equipment on the general railroad system. Research in this area; however, is not conclusive. Numerous foreign car-builders have been convinced that U.S. light rail buff loads, which are already two-to-four times higher than in European or Japanese practice, are unnecessary and expensive. Conversely, because of the recent accidents and findings from FRA, NTSB and SSO agencies, there has also been pressure to maintain or even increase the strength of U.S. heavy and light railcars. One possibly satisfactory solution, which has emerged is to base vehicle design requirements on crashworthiness, rather than structural strength, permitting the designer to use collapsing devices to absorb collision energy. Following this approach, crush zones, impact attenuation, and debris deflection devices would be incorporated into the design of heavy and light rail vehicles. Over the last five years, ASME Standards Committee for Rail Transit Vehicles has been investigating this option; working to rationalize the conflicting data and opinions and possibly reach a consensus that would achieve better safety for the passenger and also provide a lighter and less costly car. However, this approach differs considerably from existing industry practice, which, to date, still emphasizes buffing strength. The North American buff design practice is nearer to 150-200 percent of the tare weight of the single vehicle. This weight is often referred to as the "2g spec," or a longitudinal compression equal to twice the weight of the rail transit vehicle. Since crash energy management principles are relatively new to the rail transit industry, it is highly unlikely that many existing railcars would be in compliance with ASME standards (when they are complete). In addition, the standards being developed by ASME are not designed as "minimum crashworthiness standards to prevent the telescoping of transit railcars in collisions." Rather, these standards provide: "performance requirements" for new railcar procurements that focus on crash energy absorption and dispersal. While these standards may very well prevent or reduce the likelihood of telescoping, this has not been an active area of research. It is clear from NTSB's discussion of the acceptable performance of WMATA's 5000 series cars and the specification for the 6000-series cars, that NTSB's recommendation centers on the more traditional approach to crashworthiness. Therefore, at the current time, FTA is concerned that ASME standards may not be fully appropriate to address NTSB's concerns. FTA Response to R-06-6 To address this recommendation, FTA will focus on two activities: • Creating an inventory of the nation's heavy and light rail transit vehicles, which includes identification of specific design features relating to crashworthiness and the prevention of telescoping, and Identifying the time-frame through which various classes of vehicles with specific design features will be retired from service or retrofitted to meet a higher standard. To achieve these objectives, FTA proposes revising 49 CFR Part 659 to include "vehicle safety design standards" as a section of a rail transit agency's SSPP. In this section, rail transit agencies will identify the design standards values used for each class of vehicle in their fleets, and indicate when each class of vehicle is currently scheduled to be removed from service or retrofitted. Through the same public notice and comment process used to revise 49 CIF’S Part 659 to address fatigue management issues identified in our response to R-06-3, FRA will propose a list of design features that may be specified for each class of rail transit vehicle operated in passenger service. For simplicity, FTA anticipates that this list will follow the general categories used in 49 CFR 238 and include the following types of information: • Energy absorption (in megajoules) at each end of the train through the controlled crushing of unoccupied volumes; • Minimum longitudinal static compressive force sustained by the underframe (in pounds) at stops without permanent deformation; • Pounds of vertical load on anti-climber without exceeding yield point; • Vertical downward load on coupler carrier without exceeding yield; • Collision posts on each side of the diaphragm opening, including ultimate shear (in pounds) at the top of the underframe; • Truck locking to body at a minimum ultimate shear value (in pounds); • Anti-climber arrangements designed to resist specific vertical and lateral buckling forces (in pounds); • Collision post strength (in pounds) and extension to the roofline; • Corner post full height (extending from the underframe to the roof) and capability to resist a specific load (in pounds) at the underframe attachment and a specific load (in pounds) at the roof attachment; • A specified cab crash refuge or survivable area for the crew in the event of a collision; • A rollover strength value specified in force of gravity acting on the mass of an individual vehicle; • A side impact strength specified to protect against collisions; • Seat components designed to withstand loads due to impact up to a certain speed; and • Glazing strength requirements for windows. Through the SSO Annual Reporting program, this information will be reported to FTA, and will be available to NTSB. Once FTA has received this information, it will coordinate with ASME: and APTA regarding potential impacts on existing standards development initiatives. FTA will review the possibility of setting recommended guidelines for minimum crashworthiness standards and telescoping prevention in light and heavy railcars. However, since most light and heavy railcars are designed for a minimum of 40 years of useful life, and since new car procurements often take five-to-seven years at a cost of between $1 and $3 million per car, it is unlikely that the industry will be able to remove non-compliant vehicle; within a narrow or short timeframe. FTA will also work through its Regional Offices and Project Management Oversight Program to ensure that this issue is addressed in the review of New Start and major capital investment projects involving rail vehicles. Additionally, we will at address the need for these standards in rehabilitated rail vehicles through our "Construction Roundtables," which bring together key decision makers from all rail systems. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any suggestions, comments or concerns regarding the actions we have identified to address R-06-3 through -6. We: look forward to continuing to work with NTSB on rail transit safety issues.

From: FTA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/6/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/20/2006 9:55:17 AM MC# 2060290: - From Sandra K. Bushue, Deputy Administrator: FTA, in partnership with TCRP, APTA and the ASME RT Committee, is currently supporting the development of consensus-based standards for both light rail and heavy rail vehicle crashworthiness. FTA anticipates that drafts of these standards may be available as early as June 2006. To address R-06-6, FTA will conduct an in-depth review of these standards. These standards were not designed as “minimum crashworthiness standards to prevent the telescoping of transit railcars in collisions.” Rather, these standards provide “performance requirements” for new railcar procurements that take advantage of advanced crash energy management principles. Therefore, FTA must determine, first, if all elements of these standards are appropriate for R-06-06, and then, secondly, which elements of these standards may be appropriate for retrofits. FTA will conduct this assessment in partnership with its stakeholders in consensus-based standards making. Once the details of these standards and available options for retrofitting have been determined, then FTA will work with its partners to identify the classes of cars in the existing nation-wide railcar fleet that do not meet the standards. FTA will conduct outreach and survey work to determine existing timelines for retrofits and for removing vehicles that cannot be retrofitted from service. Since most railcars are designed for a minimum of 40 years of useful life, and since new car procurements often take five-to-seven years at a cost of between $1 and $3 million per car, it is unlikely that the industry will be able to remove non-compliant vehicles in a period of just a few years. In establishing this timeline, FTA will also work through its Regional Offices and Project Management Oversight Program to ensure that this issue is addressed in the review of New Starts and major capital investment projects involving rail vehicles. Additionally, we will address the need for these standards in rehabilitated rail vehicles through our “Construction Roundtables,” which bring together key engineers from rail systems. We will also collect information from rail transit agencies regarding the percentage of rail cars in compliance with the proposed minimum standards and publish that information in FTA’s annual safety report. We will also provide this information to NTSB. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, comments or concerns regarding the initial activities we have identified. FTA’s final response to the four recommendations will be made on or before August 31, 2006. We are especially interested in your assessment regarding the usefulness of a SWAT meeting to help us review options for addressing R-06-3. We look forward to continuing to work with NTSB on rail transit safety issues and will provide our final response on or before August 3, 2006. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Michael Taborn on (202) 366-3526 or Mr. Levern McElveen on (202) 366-1651.

From: NTSB
To: FTA
Date:
Response: At the February 18, 2010 Board meeting addressing the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements (MWL), the Board voted to place Safety Recommendations R-06-5 and R-06-6 on the MWL under the issue category “Improve Transit Railcar Design.”