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Safety Recommendation R-14-052
Details
Synopsis: On May 28, 2013, about 1:59 p.m., a 2003 Mack Granite three-axle roll-off straight truck, operated by Alban Waste, LLC, was traveling northwest on a private road in Rosedale, Maryland, toward a private highway–railroad grade crossing. The grade crossing consisted of two tracks and was marked on each side with a crossbuck sign. The truck was carrying a load of debris to a recycling center located 3.5 miles from the carrier terminal. About the same time, a CSX Transportation Company (CSXT) freight train—which consisted of two locomotives, 31 empty cars, and 14 loaded cars—was traveling southwest at a recorded speed of 49 mph. As the train approached the crossing, the train horn sounded three times. The truck did not stop; and as the train traversed the crossing, it struck the truck on the right side, causing the truck to rotate and overturn before coming to rest on the earthen embankment on the northwest side of the tracks. The first 15 cars of the 45-car train derailed.
Recommendation: TO THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS AND THE AMERICAN SHORT LINE AND REGIONAL RAILROAD ASSOCIATION: Develop and disseminate to your members a model program for railroads to (1)evaluate the safety of private highway–railroad grade crossings in their territories, including identifying visibility obstructions and other factors that increase the risk of grade crossing collisions; and (2) work with landowners and communities to mitigate that risk.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Unacceptable Response
Mode: Railroad
Location: Rosedale, MD, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY13MH013
Accident Reports: Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing Collision
Report #: HAR-14-02
Accident Date: 5/28/2013
Issue Date: 10/22/2014
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (Open - Unacceptable Response)
Association of American Railroads (Open - Unacceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Association of American Railroads
Date: 1/7/2016
Response: We agree with you that railroads do not control the area outside the right-of-way and understand that, accordingly, railroads cannot take the lead in removing obstructions from private grade crossings. We also agree that this action is correctly the responsibility of a public entity or private property owner. However, we have not recommended that railroads undertake such action independently, but simply that you develop and disseminate a model program that would assist railroads in working with landowners and communities to reduce the risks at highway railroad grade crossings. An outreach program crafted by the railroads in conjunction with state entities that have jurisdiction over crossings could provide guidance to landowners and start constructive dialogue that could lead to cooperation among all parties. Railroads might find such references as the Federal Railroad Administration’s Modal Sight Distance at Passive Crossings useful in developing such a program. We encourage you to reconsider your current position on this issue. Pending our receipt of information that you will do so, Safety Recommendation R 14 52 is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Association of American Railroads
To: NTSB
Date: 3/24/2015
Response: -From Edward R. Hamberger, President and Chief Executive Officer: R-14-52 does not accurately reflect actual responsibility for safety at grade crossings. Railroads control the track. They do not control the area outside the right-of-way. At private crossings, the area outside the right-of-way is under control of the private entity. At public crossings, the area outside the right-of-way is under the control of a government agency. Assessments of obstructions and other risk factors must be undertaken by the appropriate entity, the private party or the government agency. Railroads certainly can assist in that effort, as they do with diagnostic teams. However, the railroads are in no position to take the lead role. Furthermore, the removal of any obstructions is undertaken by the private or public entity- the railroads cannot remove obstructions that are not on the right-of-way. The railroads actually cannot legally undertake the task asked of them by R-14-52. A proper assessment of potential obstructions at private crossings undoubtedly would require that railroad personnel go on the private property. Without authorization, that would be trespassing. Consequently, AAR requests that the status of Safety Recommendation R-14-52 be changed to Closed-Reconsidered.

From: NTSB
To: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
Date: 6/10/2019
Response: We note that you believe this recommendation was addressed by the FRA in Title 49 CFR Part 234 subpart F, “Highway-Rail and Pathway Crossing Inventory Reporting.” We further note that you conducted a webinar for your members about these regulations on September 21, 2017, and an on-demand archive version of the webinar is available in the members only area of your website. However, we reviewed Part 234, subpart F, which addresses railroads reporting the grade crossings in their territories, and we were unable to find any content relevant to Safety Recommendation R-14-52. We also reviewed Part 234, which concerns grade crossings and maintenance and operational problems associated with signalized grade crossings, but our review did not find anything related to private grade crossings, identifying visibility obstructions and other factors that increase the risk of grade crossing collisions, or working with landowners and communities to mitigate risk. Please describe the specific sections of Part 234, subpart F that you believe address this recommendation, or show us the sections from your September 21, 2017, webinar related to this recommendation. Pending that information, Safety Recommendation R-14-52 is classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
To: NTSB
Date: 9/19/2018
Response: -From Jo Strang, Senior Vice President, Safety and Regulatory Policy: I would like to thank you for the opportunity to address the NTSB’s concerns with railroad safety recommendations R-11-9, R-14-24, R-14-25, R-14-52, R-14-71, which are currently classified “Open – Await Response.” The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of approximately 450 short line and regional railroad members and railroad supply company members in legislative and regulatory matters. Short lines operate 50,000 miles of track in 49 states, touching in origination or termination one out of every four cars moving on the national railroad system, servicing customers who otherwise would be cut off from the national rail network. ASLRRA staff met with NTSB representatives on August 24, 2018 to resolve the open recommendations. It was decided that R-14-24 and R-14-25 are not within the scope of operations of the short line industry. The ASLRRA does not conduct compulsory audits of our members. We provide safety assessments upon request due to our limited staffing and resources. As a small non-profit organization, the ASLRRA looks to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to draft analytical risk models. PHMSA has acted to address the concerns within these two safety recommendations. As a result, NTSB representatives have agreed to issue a letter to close out those two recommendations. Recommendation R-11-9 was addressed by ASLRRA on October 30, 2014, when our membership was informed about the effectiveness of restricted speed and compliance programs in our newsletter. The association does not engage in any kind of involuntary examination of member railroads. We have agreed to provide our membership with additional education on this topic through a webinar. Safety Recommendation R-14-52 was addressed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in 49 CFR Part 234 Subpart F. ASLRRA communicated the safety recommendation information and the FRA update to the CFR in late 2014. We conducted a webinar on 49 CFR Part 234 Subpart F on September 21, 2017. An on-demand archive version of the webinar is currently available in the members only area of the ASLRRA website. The association has since upgraded our communication system and do not have access to the original emails and newsletters from 2014. We have listed the safety recommendation and linked to the proper CFR discussing grade crossing safety on the member resources page on our website. Recommendation R-14-71 references developing a model national labor agreement supporting programs addressing sleep disorders and other medical conditions among safety-sensitive train operating personnel ASLRRA membership are primarily non-union operations. ASLRRA does not have authority from our members to negotiation labor agreements. We recommend that the word “national” be removed from the safety recommendation in order to remedy any confusion with our industry’s involvement with union labor. Short line and regional railroads typically operate with scheduled service employees and have not seen fatigue related safety issued. Some of our larger railroad members have been proactive in creating their own obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) programs. The appendix attached to this letter contains a redacted overview of a member railroad’s OSA program and a Q&A document that has been distributed to their employees. These programs require the collection of private medical information, which each railroad will need to address based on the needs of their own employees. While screening for OSA and other health issues is an important aspect of railroad safety culture, as stated above, most short line and regional railroads have different operating conditions than with Class 1 or commuter operations with fatigue management programs due to the limited operating schedule. Thank you again for following up with ASLRRA on these important matters. Please reach out again if there are any remaining concerns with the railroad safety recommendations.

From: NTSB
To: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
Date: 7/20/2018
Response: In the 3½ years since these recommendations were issued, you have not sent us any information on actions that you have completed or are taking to satisfy them. They are each currently classified OPEN--AWAIT 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. We normally expect actions to address our recommendations to be completed within 3 to 5 years. Please update us at correspondence@ntsb.gov regarding your actions to address Safety Recommendations R-11-9, R-14-24 and -25, R-14-52, and R-14-71, and do not submit both an electronic and a hard copy of the same response.

From: NTSB
To: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
Date: 10/22/2014
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. The NTSB determines the probable cause of the accidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, the NTSB carries out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinates the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. We are providing the following information to urge the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association to take action on the safety recommendation being issued in this letter. On October 8, 2014,the NTSB adopted its report concerning the May 28, 2013,accident in which a Mack Granite three-axle roll-off straight truck carrying a load of debris to a recycling center was struck by a freight train at a highway–railroad grade crossing in Rosedale, Maryland.1 Additional information about this accident and the resulting recommendations may be found in the report of the investigation, which can be accessed at our website, www.ntsb.gov,under report number NTSB/HAR-14/02. As a result of this investigation, the NTSB issued 12new recommendations—to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA); the Federal Railroad Administration; the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; the National Fire Protection Association, and CSX Transportation Company—including the following recommendation to the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association: R-14-52 Develop and disseminate to your members a model program for railroads to (1)evaluate the safety of private highway–railroad grade crossings in their territories, including identifying visibility obstructions and other factors that increase the risk of grade crossing collisions; and (2) work with landowners and communities to mitigate that risk. The NTSB also reiterated two previously issued recommendations to the FMCSA and reclassified two previously issued recommendations to the US Department of Transportation. This safety recommendation is derived from the NTSB’s investigation and is consistent with the evidence we found and the analysis we performed. Acting Chairman HART and Members SUMWALT, ROSEKIND, and WEENER concurred in this recommendation. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate receiving a response from you within 90days detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response electronically to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.