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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-07-002
Details
Synopsis: On Sunday, July 10, 2005, about 4:15 a.m., central daylight time, two CN freight trains collided head on in Anding, Mississippi. The collision occurred on the CN Yazoo Subdivision, where the trains were being operated under a centralized traffic control signal system on single track. Signal data indicated that the northbound train, IC2 1013 North, continued past a stop (red) signal at North Anding and collided with the southbound train, IC 1023 South, about 1/4 mile beyond the signal. The collision resulted in the derailment of 6 locomotives and 17 cars. About 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel were released from the locomotives and resulted in a fire that burned for about 15 hours. Two crewmembers were on each train; all four were killed. As a precaution, about 100 Anding residents were evacuated; they did not report any injuries. Property damages exceeded $9.5 million; clearing and environmental cleanup costs totaled about $616,800.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: Assist the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in developing regulations to require that railroads immediately provide to emergency responders accurate, real-time information regarding the identity and location of all hazardous materials on a train.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Railroad
Location: Anding, MS, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA 05 MR 011
Accident Reports:
Report #: RAR-07-01
Accident Date: 7/10/2005
Issue Date: 4/25/2007
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/21/2018
Response: -From Ronald L. Batory, Administrator: The NTSB issued this recommendation in response to the July 10, 2005, head-on collision of two Canadian National Railway freight trains in Anding, Mississippi, that resulted in the release of approximately 15,000 gallons of fuel and a fire. Assist the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in developing regulations to require that railroads immediately provide to emergency responders accurate, real-time information regarding the identity and location of all hazardous materials on a train. On May 16, 2016, FRA provided the NTSB with an update on addressing this recommendation. FRA explained the agency was still actively working with PHMSA to complete and publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 174, which applies to persons who accept and transport hazardous material by rail. On January 19, 2017, the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) titled Hazardous Materials: FAST Act Requirements/or Real-Time Train Consist Information by Rail was published in the Federal Register (82 FR 6451 ). As Safety Recommendation R-07-02 asks FRA to assist PHMSA in developing certain regulations, FRA has effectively addressed this recommendation. Notably, the industry has developed and implemented technology that addresses this recommendation. The AskRail app (http://askrail.us/), launched in 2014, provides first responders with immediate access to accurate data about the location and type of hazardous materials each rail car is carrying in a train of cars. On September 6, 2018, AAR published Circular OT-55-Q (https://www.aar.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/CPC-1337-0T-55-Q-wAskRail-9-6-18.pdf), confirming the railroad industry's implementation of the AskRail application. As FRA has assisted PHMSA in developing regulations to the extent of the agency's authority, and the railroad industry has implemented technology that already addresses the NTSB's recommendation, FRA respectfully asks the NTSB to classify recommendation R-07-02 as "Closed-Acceptable Action." FRA met with staff at the NTSB on October 11, 2018, to share this information and answer questions, and FRA hopes these recommendation closures can be expedited.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/16/2016
Response: -From Sarah E. Feinberg, Administrator: This letter is to update you on the status of the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) responses to certain National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Safety Recommendations (R-01-02 R-04-07 R-05-17 R-07-02 R-08-12 R-14-02 R-14-16 and R-14-17) issued to the FRA. In the enclosure, FRA responds to these Safety Recommendations and explains the actions it has taken in response to them. FRA's actions, once implemented, will satisfy the intent of these open NTSB recommendations and FRA will keep the NTSB informed of their completion. FRA continues to work actively with PHMSA to complete and publish an NPRM to amend 49 CFR Part 174 (Part 174), which applies to persons who accept and transport hazardous material by rail. As FRA noted in previous correspondence to the NTSB, the proposed rule is based on FRA's retrospective review of Part 174 under Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, to identify regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome. As part of this rulemaking initiative, FRA and PHMSA are considering enhancements to the existing requirement to document the placement of railcars transporting hazardous material in a train by leveraging existing automatic equipment identification (AEI) reader technology and railroad communication protocols to ensure accurate real-time information is available to the train crew, dispatching office, and emergency response personnel. We anticipate that, once implemented, this rule will address not only Safety Recommendation R-07-2, issued to FRA and the companion Safety Recommendation R-07-3 issued to PHMSA, but also the Congressional mandate of Section 7302 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 3/17/2015
Response: In a November 24, 2014, letter from PHMSA regarding companion recommendation R 07-4, we learned that PHMSA was working with the FRA to address this issue, and that PHMSA had almost finished research on a pilot program for paperless hazard communications, Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communications for Efficient and Safe Shipments (HM ACCESS). We understand that the Office of Management and Budget granted approval for information collection, authorizing PHMSA to begin pilot tests and inspections of emergency response simulations in three or four US regions, including one rural area. We learned that these pilot tests would start in early 2015, that they would collect data to analyze the impacts of using electronic systems to communicate information regarding the shipping of hazardous materials, and that the results of the program would be submitted to Congress later this year. Because you are collaborating with PHMSA on this issue, pending completion of the pilot testing and our review of the results, Safety Recommendation R-07-2 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 1/23/2015
Response: We note that you will provide an update regarding FRA actions to address Safety Recommendations R-07-2 and R 12 3 in a separate letter.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/10/2014
Response: -From Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator: FRA is conducting a retrospective review of Part 174 of the HMR, which governs the acceptance and transportation of hazardous materials by rail. This review was conducted in accordance with Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, to identify regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome. FRA and PHMSA are working together to determine the best path forward to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal regulations in Part 174 that would, in part, address Safety Recommendation R-07-2 and the companion Safety Recommendation R-07-4 issued to PHMSA. On August 27-28, 2013, FRA and PHMSA held a public meeting with industry stakeholders to solicit input on a comprehensive review of safety regulations contained in part 174 applicable to the safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail. PHMSA and FRA have initiated a rulemaking (RIN 2137-AF07) to address comments received as a result of the public meeting. Among those regulations identified as potentially outmoded and insufficient is the requirement for notice to train crews of the current position of hazmat rail car(s) at existing§ 174.26. FRA and PHMSA are considering the use of technology by railroads to update train consist information on a real-time basis, which would identify the current location of all rail cars, including the positions of rail car(s) containing hazardous materials. This may include regulations requiring real-time updates on the position of hazmat cars that would specifically address the current gaps in availability of the most current information. These gaps may occur due to train operations activity (car pickups and setouts) performed between automatic equipment identification (AEI) readers that are only able to update the train consist after a train passes an AEI reader. Additionally, FRA believes that better identification of rail cars moving under one-time movement approvals (OTMAs) listed on the train consist would provide further benefit to emergency responders, as these cars generally have some manner of defect. FRA is also cooperating with PHMSA on completion of the "Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communication for Efficient and Safe Shipping" (HM-ACCESS) project. PHMSA is considering two key initiatives under HM-ACCESS, both of which may lead to regulatory changes. First, PHMSA continues evaluating several special permit applications for the use of electronic shipping papers. Second, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) instructs PHMSA under § 33005 to conduct pilot tests to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of paperless hazard (e-HM) communication systems. PHMSA has completed a series of public meetings and has obtained stakeholder feedback regarding e-HM that will be helpful in the implementation of HM-ACCESS. FRA has agreed to actively participate in multimodal pilot tests of electronic communications that PHMSA will be initiating in the coming months. Continued progress on these two projects will result in modernizing and improving the way hazardous materials information is immediately communicated to emergency responders and others by all modes of transportation, including the location of hazmat cars on a train. These efforts will enhance safety as well as address Safety Recommendation R-07-02.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/24/2014
Response: -From Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator: Thank you for your August 22, 2014, letter to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regarding the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) Safety Recommendations R-14-15 through R-14-17, R-12-03, and R-07-02. Safety Recommendation R-14-15 calls for FRA to promulgate a regulation for permitting a train to pass a red signal aspect protecting a movable bridge. Safety Recommendations R -14-16 and R -14-17 call for FRA to collaborate with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) to develop a risk assessment tool and conduct audits of shortline and regional railroads to ensure that proper route risk assessments are being performed. These recommendations were issued as a result of the November 30, 2012, accident in which a Conrail train containing hazardous materials derailed while traveling over a movable bridge with an unsecured swing span, spilling vinyl chloride into Mantua Creek in Paulsboro, New Jersey. In the enclosure, FRA responds to Safety Recommendations R -14-15 through R -14-17 and explains the actions that FRA intends to take or has taken in response to the recommendations. Therefore, FRA respectfully requests that NTSB classify Safety Recommendation R-14-15 as "Closed-Acceptable Action." In addition, FRA requests that NTSB classify Safety Recommendations R-14-16 and R-14-17 as "Open-Acceptable Response." FRA will address Safety Recommendations R-12-03 and R-07-02 in a separate letter. We look forward to continuing to work with you on important safety issues.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 8/26/2014
Response: From the report "Conrail Freight Train Derailment with Vinyl Chloride Release" Paulsboro, New Jersey, November 30, 2012, Notation 8475A, RAR-14-01, adopted July 29, 2014, published August 26, 2014: In a May 15, 2012, response to Safety Recommendation R-07-02, the FRA informed the NTSB that it had met with the AAR, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), and PHMSA to discuss the available systems and to identify systemic gaps and formulate measures to close those gaps. Although the FRA appears to be taking some action, the agency as of the issuance of this report had not clearly identified any specific initiatives to address Safety Recommendation R-07-02. Therefore, Safety Recommendation R-07-02 is classified “Open—Unacceptable Response.” On September 6, 2013, PHMSA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (Federal Register 2013, 66326), seeking comment on the implementation of a response to Safety Recommendation R-07-04. The NTSB commented that it continues to investigate accidents where emergency responders did not receive timely and accurate hazard information from railroad operators, including the November 30, 2012, Paulsboro, New Jersey, derailment. The NTSB believes that available technologies can and should be used to supplement the paper-based train consist for improving the dissemination of chemical hazard information to emergency responders. However, Safety Recommendation R-07-04 has remained open for more than 5 years. The NTSB is encouraged by the PHMSA Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo NTSB Railroad Accident Report 33 Communications for Efficient and Safe Shipments program and notes that PHMSA has instituted a paperless hazard communication pilot program to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of paperless electronic communication systems. Therefore, Safety Recommendation R-07-04 is classified “Open—Acceptable Response.” While Conrail did verbally relay information about the hazardous materials to emergency responders, the train consist and emergency response information were not provided to the incident command for more than 3 hours. The NTSB concludes that during the early hours following the accident, Conrail personnel did not immediately provide critical hazardous materials information to emergency responders that could have assisted in executing a safer response to this accident. Therefore, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendation R-07-02 to the FRA and Safety Recommendation R-07-04 to PHMSA.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 8/2/2012
Response: On May 15, 2012, the FRA informed the NTSB that it had met with the AAR and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) to provide an overview of Safety Recommendation R-07-2 and its plans to address this recommendation. The FRA further informed us that it had discussed with PHMSA the application of HM-ACCESS (Hazardous Materials–Automated Cargo Communications for Efficient and Safe Shipments). We note that, on May 2, 2012, the FRA met with the AAR, the ASLRRA, and PHMSA to discuss the available systems and to identify the systemic gaps and measures to close those gaps. Although PHMSA did not address Safety Recommendation R-07-4 in its May 30, 2012, letter, we are encouraged that FRA and PHMSA appear to be making some progress in addressing this issue. In our most recent exchanges of correspondence with PHMSA regarding this recommendation (enclosed), PHMSA indicated that it was “evaluating the emergency response issues raised in the recommendation and the Federal, State, and local government and industry programs intended to address those issues.” However, this information is several years old, and we are eager to learn of specific plans that PHMSA has made or actions it has taken since January 2008 to address Safety Recommendation R-07-4. In the meantime, pending our receipt of an update regarding action PHMSA has taken or intends to take to address this recommendation, it remains classified “Open—Acceptable Response.”

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 7/18/2012
Response: In our January 10, 2011, letter (enclosure 2), the NTSB acknowledged the activities and contributions of the AAR, CHEMTREC, and industry stakeholders to facilitate the rapid communication of hazardous materials information. However, we also reminded the FRA that the intent of Safety Recommendation R-07-2 was to require railroads to provide to emergency responders information about the identity and location of hazardous materials on a train at the time of an accident. Further, we pointed out that, in its letter of November 17, 2009 (enclosure 1), the FRA had identified no initiatives it had taken to move this recommendation forward. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-07-2 remained classified “Open—Unacceptable Response.” The NTSB understands that, in response to the Cherry Valley accident, the FRA has met with the AAR and ASLRRA to provide an overview of Safety Recommendation R-07-2 and its plans to address this recommendation, and that the FRA and PHMSA have discussed the application of HM-ACCESS (Hazardous Materials-ACCESS). Further, we note that, on May 2, 2012, the FRA met with the AAR, ASLRRA, and PHMSA to discuss available systems and to identify systemic gaps and measures to close those gaps. We also note that the FRA and PHMSA will be providing periodic updates on their progress. Although we are encouraged that the FRA appears to be taking some action, the agency has yet to clearly identify any specific initiatives underway to address Safety Recommendation R-07-2. Accordingly, pending receipt of detailed information on how and when the FRA will implement the recommendation, it remains classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/15/2012
Response: -From Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator: As the NTSB investigation discovered, the carrier failed to comply with Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Section 174.26, which requires a train crew to have a consist that accurately reflects the position of railcars containing hazardous materials. In general, lack of compliance with an existing regulation does not justify establishing new regulations. In this case, after reviewing the regulation, FRA is considering an amendment to the regulations that will clarify the requirement. FRA is also identifying and evaluating existing systems for obtaining information regarding the location of tank cars containing hazardous materials in a train. FRA has met with the AAR and ASLRRA to provide an overview of the recommendation and our path forward. In addition, FRA and the Pipeline and. Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have discussed the application of HM-ACCESS in this regard. A meeting involving FRA, AAR, ASLRRA, and PHMSA was held on May 2, 2012, to discuss the available systems and identify the systemic gaps and measures to close the gaps. FRA and PHMSA will provide NTSB with periodic updates on our progress. Until such time as FRA is able to fully address this safety recommendation, we respectfully request that NTSB classify Safety Recommendation R-07-02 "Open-Acceptable Response." I appreciate your interest in this important transportation matter. We look forward to working with you.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 3/2/2012
Response: R-07-002 was reiterated in the greensheet issuing recommendations R-12-3 and R-12-4, issued on March 2, 2012. R-12-3 and R-12-4 resulted from the June 19, 2009 freight train derailment at a highway/ rail grade crossing in Cherry Valley, Illinois. All the derailed cars were carrying denatured fuel ethanol, a flammable liquid, which caught fire. From the greensheet: As a result of its investigation of the Anding, Mississippi, train collision, the NTSB recommended that the FRA (Safety Recommendation R-07-2) and PHMSA (Safety Recommendation R-07-4) work together to develop PHMSA regulations requiring that railroads immediately provide to emergency responders accurate, real-time information about the identity and location of all hazardous materials on a train. PHMSA, in a January 22, 2008, response to Safety Recommendation R-07-4, indicated to the NTSB that it was examining (1) ways to improve the availability of accurate and immediate information for emergency responders on the scene of an accident, and (2) strategies for enhancing emergency response planning and training efforts. Additionally, PHMSA indicated that it was evaluating the emergency response issues raised in the safety recommendation and the Federal, state, and local government, and industry programs intended to address those issues. Based on this response, the NTSB classified Safety Recommendation R-07-4 “Open Acceptable Response.” In an October 10, 2007, response to Safety Recommendation R-07-2, the FRA noted the ongoing efforts of the AAR, CHEMTREC, and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association to enhance the availability of hazardous materials information during an accident. But the FRA maintained that the current practice of requiring the physical hand-off of train consists and other hazardous materials information “remains the most accurate method of transferring this information when an accident occurs.” The FRA stated that it had no reason to believe that regulatory revisions are necessary to address this issue. In an April 12, 2011, follow-up response to the safety recommendation, the FRA noted that its regulations require that information on the identity and location of hazardous materials shipments on a train be maintained by a member of the train crew for the benefit of emergency responders. Further, with the FRA’s encouragement, the AAR issued a circular offering to provide hazardous materials information on the top 25 commodities to local emergency response organizations to assist in training and preparing for emergencies. Finally, with the FRA’s encouragement, CSX Transportation, Inc., and CHEMTREC established a real-time information process that provides car content and train consist information on a “one-call” basis. The FRA indicated that it continues to evaluate this process to determine if additional regulations are necessary. While acknowledging the activities and contributions of the AAR, CHEMTREC, and industry stakeholders to facilitate the rapid communication of hazardous materials information, in a January 10, 2011, letter, the NTSB reminded the FRA that the intent of Safety Recommendation R-07-2 was to require railroads to provide to emergency responders information about the identity and location of hazardous materials on a train at the time of an accident and that the FRA had not identified any initiatives it had taken to move this recommendation forward. Therefore, the NTSB continues to classify Safety Recommendation R-07-2 “Open—Unacceptable Response.” The NTSB also supports the HM-ACCESS initiative of PHMSA, which will allow the electronic communication of shipping paper information and improve the availability and accuracy of hazard communications to emergency responders. If implemented as envisioned, railroads will be able to quickly transmit electronically updated and accurate train consist data to emergency responders when accidents occur. However, PHMSA began its HM-ACCESS initiative with public meetings on October 13–14, 2009, to discuss an upcoming proof-of-concept study on the use of electronic documents for hazardous materials shipments, no rulemaking has been initiated by PHMSA or the FRA to require railroads to immediately provide accurate consist information to emergency responders. Therefore, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendations R-07-2 and R-07-4 to the FRA and PHMSA, respectively.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 12/1/2011
Response: CC# 201100449 was closed administratively; no response was written or mailed.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/12/2011
Response: -From Ray LaHood, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation: NTSB Classification and Actions Taken by FRA: Open – Unacceptable Response. FRA regulations require that information on the identity and location of hazardous materials shipments on a train be maintained for the benefit of emergency responders. However, with FRA’s encouragement, the AAR issued a circular offering to provide hazardous materials information on the top 25 commodities to local emergency response organizations to assist in training and preparing for emergencies. The most current version of the circular is available on the AAR/Bureau of Explosives Web site at http://boe.aar.com/boe/download/circular_ot-55-j.pdf. In addition, with FRA’s encouragement, CSX Transportation, Inc., and Chemtrec established a real-time information process that provides car content and train consist information on a “one-call” basis. FRA continues to evaluate this process to determine if additional regulations are necessary. NTSB has requested that FRA work with PHMSA to pursue the development and requirement of a national system that can electronically track tank car shipments of hazardous materials, and has classified the recommendation as “Open – Unacceptable Response,” pending initiation of rulemaking efforts to implement it. Actions Needed to Be Taken by FRA: Issue regulations, as necessary.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 1/10/2011
Response: The NTSB classified Safety Recommendation R-07-2 "Open-Unacceptable Response" on July 31, 2009. Although the initiatives of CSX Transportation, Chemtrec, and the American Shortline and Regional Railroad Association to improve the availability and deployment of real-time hazardous materials information to emergency responders are positive, the intent of tins recommendation is for the FRA to require railroads to provide to emergency responders information about the identity and location of hazardous materials on a train at the time of an accident. The NTSB is disappointed that the initiatives cited in the FRA's letter are not those of the FRA, as recommended. To date, the FRA has not identified any initiatives it has taken to move this recommendation forward. The NTSB is interested in learning from the FRA what measures it has taken or is planning to initiate toward addressing this recommendation. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation R-07-2 remains classified OPEN – UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/17/2009
Response: MC# 2090704 - From Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator: AAR amended its recommended operating practices Circular Number OT-55G to afford local emergency responders with a ranked listing of the top 25 hazardous materials being transported by rail through their community. In July 2005, CSX Transportation (CSXT) and Chemtrec entered into an agreement to implement a pilot project designed so that Chemtrec could immediately access specific train information, which included hazardous materials documentation from CSXT's computer system. In December 2006, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association launched a second pilot project to evaluate the use of Railinc Corporation's Freightscope. The system is installed at Chemtrec and has improved availability and rapid deployment of real-time hazardous materials information about shipments on shortline and regional railroads. In October 2007, FRA sent an initial recommendation response letter to NTSB requesting this recommendation be reclassified as "Open-Acceptable Action." FRA is awaiting a formal response from NTSB. The FRA respectfully requests NTSB classify this Safety Recommendation as "Open- Response Received," until such time as NTSB staff and Board members have determined a classification based upon PRA's initial recommendation response letter.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 7/31/2009
Response: The NTSB notes the FRA’s position that, although the development of a national system that could electronically track tank car shipments of hazardous materials is being considered, the current practice of requiring the hand-off of train consists and other hazardous materials documentation to emergency responders remains the most accurate method of transferring this information when an event occurs. We further note that the FRA does not believe that regulatory revisions are necessary to federalize this industry standard. As the NTSB stated in its accident investigation report: The accident at Anding demonstrates that accurate train consists may not be available if the on-board documents are destroyed in an accident. Also, the death or injury of crewmembers may prevent or hinder emergency response personnel from accessing accurate consist information in a timely manner. Given the critical importance of providing timely and accurate information to emergency responders about the hazardous materials on an accident train, the NTSB does not consider a railroad’s reliance upon the on-board consist as the only up-to-date listing to be prudent or responsive, especially when a railroad is transporting hazardous materials. The NTSB concludes that to ensure the safety of emergency responders and the public, railroads must have the ability to quickly provide emergency responders complete information about the specific hazardous materials being transported on a train and their location within it, regardless of the availability of the on-board consist. The NTSB is aware of the actions that some AAR member railroads have taken regarding community awareness, emergency planning, and incident response for the transportation of hazardous materials. We are also aware of the technology in use by some railroads. However, although some railroads have experimented or are experimenting with various electronic technologies to maintain available and up-to-date consist information, other railroads have not. Electronic tracking systems and modern computer and communication systems can provide a railroad with flexibility and capability to generate, maintain, retrieve, and promptly deliver up-to-date consists for any of its operating trains to emergency responders. To bring about the implementation of such systems nationwide was the intention of the NTSB in issuing this recommendation. The NTSB acknowledges the usefulness of CHEMTREC® the Network Operations Workstation, and the other programs discussed in the FRA’s letter; however, most of these programs have been in place for several years and do not specifically address this recommendation. For example, railroads could provide emergency responders with a train consist via CHEMTREC®, but current regulations do not ensure that this would occur in all instances. Given the advanced technology available today, there is no sound reason for railroads not to have the capability to provide a real-time consist independent of the consist physically carried on the locomotive. We urge the FRA to reconsider its current position that federal regulations are not needed to adequately address this recommendation. Accordingly, pending the FRA’s reconsidering its position and acting with PHMSA to pursue the development and requirement of a national system that can electronically track tank car shipments of hazardous materials, Safety Recommendation R-07-02 is classified OPEN -- UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. The NTSB would appreciate receiving progress reports on this endeavor.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/25/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/30/2007 12:56:21 PM MC# 2070616: - From Joseph H. Boardman, Administrator: The importance of providing adequate hazardous materials documentation to emergency responders in a timely manner is nothing new to FRA. Early on, FRA’s Office of Safety realized that proper hazardous materials documentation, including notice to train crews reflecting the current position in the train of all rail cars containing hazardous materials, was of utmost importance to the safety of responders, the general public, and the environment. Later on, FRA, in conjunction with the Research and Special Programs Administration (now PHMSA), added a requirement that a member of the train crew must update the document to show any changes in the position of a rail car within the train to ensure continued safety during transportation of hazardous materials by rail. As a result of these emergency response delays in the midst of various railroad accidents, FRA approached the AAR and asked them to consider whether additional requirements to the regulations were necessary to ensure the availability of hazardous materials information in the event the train crew became incapacitated. Consequently, FRA conducted several meetings with the AAR, various railroads, and emergency response organizations to further discuss the necessity and type of enhancements that would provide access to hazardous materials information during an accident. From these meetings, positive changes to the way emergency response information would be accessed and exchanged can be witnessed by the following milestones: Beginning in March 2005, the AAR amended its Recommended Operating Practices Circular No. OT-55 G to afford local emergency responders with a ranked listing of the top 25 hazardous materials being transported by rail through their community. This important step allowed emergency responders to plan and train in advance of an actual chemical release.In July 2005, CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT) and CHEMTREC entered into an agreement to implement a pilot project so designed that CHEMTREC could immediately access specific train information, which included hazardous materials documentation from CSXT’s computer system. The system, developed to provide real-time information, relies in part on train position information on those locomotives equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. That pilot project remains in effect and appears to be providing good results. During December 2006, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, with FRA’s encouragement, launched a second pilot project to evaluate the use of Railinc Corporation’s Freightscope. This program was equipped with the capability to search for hazardous materials shipments. When installed at CHEMTREC, the system improved availability and rapid deployment of real-time hazardous materials information about shipments on shortline and regional railroads. Lastly, FRA, in conjunction with PHMSA, will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) addressing toxic inhalation hazard tank safety. In a public meeting notice supporting the rulemaking activity (see 71 Federal Register 67015, dated November 17, 2006), FRA asked interested persons to submit comments on nine issues it was considering. One of the questions concerned whether installation of bearing sensors or other onboard tracking/monitoring systems capable of monitoring, for example, tank car pressure, temperature, and safety conditions, would improve the safety and security of hazardous materials shipments by railroad tank car and, if so, whether implementing such a system is feasible. In response to this question, commenters generally noted that many hazardous materials shippers have already implemented onboard tracking and monitoring systems for a variety of reasons. One commenter suggested that many detailed practicalities of such a system would need to be addressed (e.g., monitors attached to individual cars or through a system of wayside detectors, the utilization of data collected, and communication of that data to affected parties). While the development of a national system that could electronically track tank car shipments of hazardous materials is being considered, the current practice of requiring the hand-off of train consists and other hazardous materials documentation to emergency responders remains the most accurate method of transferring this information when an event occurs. Train crews are required, by industry operating rules, to provide this information and to assist emergency responders in understanding the information. FRA currently has no reason to believe that regulatory revisions are necessary to federalize the current industry standard. However, if a systematic problem is identified, FRA would not hesitate to mandate the passing of information.