Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-07-007
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 CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY: Develop and implement a positive train control system that includes collision avoidance capabilities on main line tracks, establishing priority requirements for high-risk corridors such as those where passenger trains operate.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Railroad
Location: Anding, MS, United States
Is Reiterated: No
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: Canadian National Railway (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Positive Train Control

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Canadian National Railway
Date: 3/20/2014
Response: Our last update from CN regarding this recommendation was dated February 15, 2011. Based on information contained in that letter, we classified Safety Recommendation R-07-7 OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE on June 22, 2011.

From: NTSB
To: Canadian National Railway
Date: 12/19/2013
Response: We are interested in knowing whether and how our recommendations are implemented, 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. Normally, we expect action to address our recommendations to be completed within 5 years. Therefore, please inform us within 90 days about the status of actions to implement Safety Recommendations R-07-7, R-07-30 and R-12-12 through -15, preferably electronically at the following e-mail address: correspondence@ntsb.gov.

From: NTSB
To: Canadian National Railway
Date: 6/22/2011
Response: The NTSB is aware that, as a Class I railroad, the CN is required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 to install PTC by December 31, 2015. We note that the CN submitted its PTC implementation plan to the Federal Railroad Administration by April 16, 2010, as required, and has planned the implementation of PTC on its 41 subdivisions, prioritizing high-risk corridors. The NTSB is satisfied with CN’s course of action to date. Pending the installation of PTC in accordance with CN’s current plan, Safety Recommendation R-07-7 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Canadian National Railway
To: NTSB
Date: 2/15/2011
Response: 201100111: - From Bob Keane, Safety and Regulatory, Canadian National: You should have our PTCIP (Positive Train Control Implementation Plan). In the U.S., CN has (631) Active Locomotives and (115) Inactive for a total of (746) locomotives. We actually have a web page that tracks our locomotive fleet across our entire network. If you need anything further, please let me know. Here is the web page: http://edmcmc.cn.ca/mps/lss3.html Yes, the inactive locomotives are equipped with alerters. We move our locomotives from inactive to active based on business needs. When you look at the web page if you go to the upper right hand corner of the page you can refine your inquiry. For example, I checked the far right hand box 'Both' to obtain the information I provided you on our current fleet operating on the South Region. For example: Today we showed (627) locomotives as 'active' whereas yesterday we were at (631) locomotives so it does fluctuate however they are equipped with alerts because as you know they are required in Canada. Note: CN is divided into (3) Regions; Eastern, Western and Southern. Southern Region is the entire U.S, operations plus Sarnia and Windsor, Ontario. If you have any questions, please give me a call or e-mail.

From: NTSB
To: Canadian National Railway
Date: 8/12/2009
Response: The NTSB notes that CN is a member of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Railroad Safety Advisory Committee PTC working group, developing regulations required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 to install PTC by December 31, 2015. CN serves on PTC technical committees, developing industry standards and technical requirements, and will submit its PTC implementation plan to the FRA by April 2010, as required. The NTSB also notes that, once CN’s PTC implementation plan is submitted, CN will initiate a pilot project with FRA approval, prioritizing high-risk corridors first, and implementing PTC by the 2015 deadline. The NTSB is pleased with CN’s course of action, which constitutes an acceptable first step in addressing the recommendation; accordingly, Safety Recommendation R-07-7 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Canadian National Railway
To: NTSB
Date: 4/22/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 4/29/2009 2:13:19 PM MC# 2090275: - From E. Harrison Hunter, President and Chief Executive Officer: CN is an active member of the RSAC (Rail Safety Advisory Committee) rule making process for PTC (Positive Train Control) and fully intends to be compliant with PTC technology as set forth in the RSIA (Rail Safety lmprovement Act) of 2008. CN representatives actively serve on the PTC technical committees that are developing the Industry standards and technical requirements for PTC. CN will submit our PTC Implementation Plan to the FRA by April 2010, which will ensure our compliance with the Rail Safety lmprovement Act of 2008. Once our implementation plan is submitted to the FRA, we will initiate a PTC Pilot Project with the assistance and approval of FRA. We will prioritize the implementation of PTC on high-risk corridors first as required by the standards set forth by FRA. Our goal is to implement PTC by 2015 as required by the Rail Safety lmprovement Act of 2008. As requested, we will provide your office periodic updates as progress is made to satisfy Safety Recommendations R-07-7 and -8. Again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for your diligent efforts to improve railroad safety in the United States and, by extension, across North America. Nothing is more important to CN than operating a safe railroad. Our objectives remain aligned with yours, and we regard the NTSB as a true partner in this on going quest.

From: NTSB
To: Canadian National Railway
Date: 4/10/2009
Response: In its letter, the CN stated its position that only a very small percentage of the overall number of Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reportable accidents may have been preventable by PTC systems and that it has an obligation to seek the highest rate of return on operational safety related issues. The CN also indicated that it would comply with PTC requirements once they were enacted by Congress. On October 16, 2008, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, P.L. 110-432 was signed into law. This law requires that within the following 18 months, each Class I railroad carrier and each entity providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation develop and submit to the Secretary of Transportation a plan for implementing a PTC system by December 31, 2015. In its letter, the CN referred to the requirements of the then-pending legislation. Compliance with the law will satisfy Safety Recommendation R-07-7. However, as the CN did not act to implement PTC in response to the recommendation and has awaited a requirement by Congress and the FRA before acting, Safety Recommendation R-07-7 remains classified OPEN -- UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. Please advise the Safety Board as the CN takes action to satisfy the recommendation.

From: Canadian National Railway
To: NTSB
Date: 4/29/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/12/2008 8:59:58 AM MC# 2080248: - From E. Harrison Hunter, President and Chief Executive Officer: While I understand and appreciate the Board has investigated many head-on, rear-end, and side collisions over the years and concluded about 90 percent are attributed to human factors causes I'm sure the Board would agree these types of accidents account for a very small percentage of the overall number of FRA reportable accidents. CN has an obligation to seek the highest rate of return on operational safety related issues. As mentioned in my initial letter of response and your most recent letter, CN is committed to the pursuit and evolution of technologies aimed at supporting future deployment of PTC related systems. I'm disappointed the Board is not satisfied with the rate at which these technologies are being evolved and implemented and considers my previous response "unacceptable." CN will continue to take an active roll in partnering with industry and government to advance safety critical technologies. CN will inform the Board of its progress. I would also note that Congress is considering rail safety legislation that includes provisions on PTC implementation, with the House legislation (H.R. 2095) requiring each Class I carrier to implement a PTC system by December 31, 2014 (unless the deadline is extended by up to 24 months by the Secretary of Transportation) while the Senate bill (5. 1889) would require that any railroad that includes PTC in its 1 0-year technology implementation plan actually implement its PTC system by no later than December 31, 2018. CN will, of course, comply with the PTC requirements included in the final safety legislation enacted into law.

From: NTSB
To: Canadian National Railway
Date: 1/22/2008
Response: The Safety Board notes that CN is participating in the Association of American Railroad’s interoperable operations and train control working group, which is developing standards and specifications for PTC systems. The Board also notes CN’s continuing efforts to pursue technologies required to support PTC, such as wayside communication architectures, radio infrastructure upgrades to evaluate voice and data capabilities, switch position indication in dark territory, global positioning system mapping, and electronic track authorities. The Safety Board is disappointed, however, that CN is not accelerating its development of PTC because of the cost associated with unknown safety returns and its assertion that most accidents are the result of mechanical or engineering issues rather than the result of collisions or other issues of possible crew fatigue. The Board has investigated many head-on, rear-end, and side collisions over the years with about 90 percent attributed to human factors causes that could have been prevented had PTC been in place. Although the Safety Board is aware of the positive actions CN has taken to date, we believe that CN should move forward at a more aggressive pace to fully address the concerns of the recommendation. The Board would appreciate being informed as CN makes additional progress in developing and implementing PTC. Pending completion of these efforts, Safety Recommendation R-07-7 is classified OPEN -- UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Canadian National Railway
To: NTSB
Date: 6/22/2007
Response: (MC 2070330) - From E. Harrison Hunter, President and Chief Executive Officer: CN continues to work with the Industry to define the technology requirements and specifications for interoperability. Our Chief Engineer - Network Operations, is a member of .the AAR's Interoperable Operations and Train Control Working Committee. This Committee's purview includes development of and agreement on the standards and specifications for Positive Train Control (PTC) equipment and systems. As well, CN continues to pursue a number of the underlying technologies which will be required to support any eventual PTC rollout: high bandwidth wayside communication architectures using our fibre optics network, and pilots of new wireiess technologies to attempt to address coverage issues in remote territories radio infrastructure upgrades to new narrow band technologies, and evaluation of voice and data capabilities evaluation and installation of technology which will provide switch position annunciation for turnouts in dark territory (currently 21 such installations across our System) GPS mapping of our entire field plant inventory Electronic Track Authority system installation, which is the first step in implementing a system which will enforce track authorities for maintenance of way vehicles.Mr Chairman, I fully understand and appreciate that the pace of PTC development and implementation may not be as rapid as you woi-ild like. As you point out in your letter, PTC has been on your "Most Wanted" list since 1990. But there are very significant technology and cost risks associated with PTC, for an unknown safety return (as you know, most main track accidents are due to Mechanical or Engineering issues, as opposed to collisions or other issues of possible crew fatigue). For these reasons, CN is not prepared to accelerate our current structured approach to PTC a+ this time. Rather, we wi!l continue to work 1.vith the Industry to evaluate possible PTC technologies, with a view to proving the technology, interoperability, safety return, and cost effectiveness. In the meantime, we will continue to upgrade our communications backbone to be ready for a possible future deployment. Finally, we fully intend to remain in the industry forefront in other safety enhancing technologies and investments.