July 31, 2014

NTSB: Oil tanker rail safety has been compromised

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The recent spate of accidents in the U.S. and Canada involving trains carrying crude oil demonstrates that “far too often, safety has been compromised,” the head of the top U.S. transportation safety agency said today. The amount of crude oil transported on railroads — shipments that frequently pass through the Chicago area — has more [...]

Rail workers’ health issues a growing safety concern

Visibility was 10 miles and the morning sun had pushed the temperature close to 90 as Danny Joe Hall guided his mile-long Union Pacific freight train east through the grasslands of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Near the farming town of Goodwell, federal investigators said, the 56-year-old engineer sped through a series of yellow and red signals warning [...]

Emergency brake failed to stop Chicago train

CHICAGO – An emergency track-side braking system activated but failed to stop a Chicago commuter train from jumping the tracks and barreling to the top of an escalator at O’Hare International Airport, a federal investigator said Tuesday. The events that led to Monday’s accident, which occurred around 3 a.m. and injured more than 30 passengers, [...]

Hersman stepping down at NTSB

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ITASCA, Ill. – The National Safety Council (NSC) announced March 11 the appointment of Deborah A.P. Hersman as the president and CEO of the 100-year-old organization chartered by Congress to prevent unintentional injury and death. Hersman, who is currently the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), will be joining NSC at its headquarters [...]

NTSB to hold forum on crude oil, ethanol by rail

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The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a two-day public forum next month on the safety of moving crude oil and ethanol by rail, the agency said Thursday. The NTSB has been warning for years that a common type of railroad tank car, known as the DOT-111, was not suitable for transporting flammable liquids and [...]

SMART TD safety experts on call to NTSB 24/7

The SMART Transportation Division Transportation Safety Team (TST) is comprised of 17 members of the SMART TD, each of whom is on call 24 hours a day to assist in determining the facts in rail-related accidents. The team members are selected by the SMART Transportation Division president based upon their knowledge of operating rules and [...]

NTSB wants higher standards on trains hauling crude

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The National Transportation Safety Board Jan. 23 issued a series of recommendations (see Safety Recommendation Letters R-14-001-003 and R-14-004-006) to the Department of Transportation to address the safety risk of transporting crude oil by rail. In an unprecedented move, the NTSB is issuing these recommendations in coordination with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. Crude [...]

NTSB: We need automatic braking on all trains

Last month, a Metro-North Railroad train plunged off the track while taking a sharp curve at 82 miles per hour, killing four and seriously injuring 20. In the aftermath, some experts said the disastrous results could have been prevented by positive train control (PTC). An automatic braking system built to slow down dangerous trains, PTC [...]

NTSB issues preliminary report on Casselton rail accident

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WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Board today released its preliminary report in the Dec. 30, 2013, derailment, collision, fire and explosion that occurred near Fargo, N.D. A BNSF train carrying crude oil struck a derailed BNSF train on a parallel track that was carrying grain. The full report can be found here.  

NTSB team departs Metro-North crash site

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board’s go-team will leave New York City this week after completing the necessary on-scene investigative work into the cause of the derailment of a Metro-North passenger train on Dec. 1. The NTSB will continue to gather factual information and investigators will return to New York as needed for follow-up [...]