November 28, 2015

Investigators release records of Casselton derailment


Federal investigators have released hundreds of pages of records that offer new insight into the moments just before and after a 2013 oil train derailment near Casselton, North Dakota, that created a massive fire and forced 1,400 people to evacuate for several days. Interviews with the BNSF Railway workers operating the two trains in the [...]

NTSB issues urgent call for improved rail tank cars


​The National Transportation Safety Board April 6 issued four urgent recommendations calling for more robust and fire-resistant rail cars to be produced to safely carry flammable liquids such as crude oil and ethanol. In its recommendations, the Board calls for an aggressive schedule of replacing or retrofitting the current rail car fleet with better thermal [...]

Christopher Hart takes the helm at NTSB


WASHINGTON – Christopher A. Hart was sworn as the 13th chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board March 17 during a ceremony presided over by Chief Administrative Law Judge Alfonso Montano. President Barack Obama nominated Hart to serve as chairman in January 2015, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him on March 12, 2015. He has [...]

NTSB to hold forum on railroad trespassing


WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a public forum March 24-25 on the dangers of trespassing on the railroad right-of-way. While railroad tracks have long held a cultural resonance with Americans, featured in motion pictures, TV shows, music videos and photography, they are private property. And they can be a deadly place. [...]

Dangerous trains, aging rails

A CSX freight train ran off the rails last month in rural Mount Carbon, W.Va. One after another, exploding rail cars sent hellish fireballs hundreds of feet into the clear winter sky. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency, and the fires burned for several days. The Feb. 16 accident was one of [...]

NTSB seeking candidate for rail accident investigator


The National Transportation Safety Board is seeking a qualified candidate to serve as a railroad accident investigator and would like to hear from interested SMART Transportation Division members with expertise in railroad operations, railroad accident investigations and railroad safety. This position is located in the Railroad Division, Office of Railroad, Pipeline, and Hazardous Materials Investigations [...]

Who’s to blame for the exploding oil trains?


A week after a CSX train hauling crude oil derailed and exploded 30 miles southeast of Charleston, W. Va., on Feb. 16, its mangled, charred tank cars were still being hauled from the crash site. Of the 27 cars that derailed, 19 had been engulfed in flames. The wreckage burned for almost three days. “It’s [...]

Safety Team member assisting NTSB in Calif.

The SMART Transportation Division’s National Safety Team has assigned one of its members to assist the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation of the crash and derailment of a Metrolink commuter train in Ventura County in California Feb. 24. Twenty-eight people were injured, four of them critically, when the five-car Metrolink commuter train traveling [...]

Transportation fatalities drop, but rail deaths rise


WASHINGTON – Transportation fatalities in the United States decreased by 3 percent in 2013 from 2012, according to preliminary figures released today by the National Transportation Safety Board. Fatalities in all modes of transportation totaled 34,678 in 2013, compared with 35,796 in 2012. Deaths in marine, aviation, highway and pipeline transportation decreased, although there was [...]

NTSB increases pressure for automatic train braking


The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday issued its annual tally of Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements, adding to the list for the first time the issue of the safety of railroad tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol. The safety board also urged the railroad industry to adopt a technology known as “Positive Train [...]