Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-15-028
Details
Synopsis: About 9:21 p.m. on May 12, 2015, National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) passenger train 188 derailed at milepost 81.62 near Frankfort Junction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The tracks in the area of the derailment have a 4-degree curve with a permanent speed restriction of 50 mph. Event recorder data indicated the train was traveling 106 mph when the engineer made an emergency brake application; soon afterward, the train derailed at the curve. There were 250 passengers and 8 Amtrak employees on board. Eight passengers died, and more than 200 passengers were treated for injuries.
Recommendation: TO THE NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK): Install, in all controlling locomotive cabs and cab car operating compartments, crash-and fire-protected inward-and outward-facing audio and image recorders capable of providing recordings to verify that train crew actions are in accordance with rules and procedures that are essential to safety as well as train operating conditions. The devices should have a minimum 12-hour continuous recording capability with recordings that are easily accessible for review, with appropriate limitations on public release, for the investigation of accidents or for use by management in carrying out efficiency testing and system wide performance monitoring programs.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Railroad
Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA15MR010
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report: Railroad ​DCA15MR010Derailment of Amtrak Passenger Train 188
Report #: RAR-16-02
Accident Date: 5/12/2015
Issue Date: 7/8/2015
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 9/12/2018
Response: We are pleased that you have installed inward- and outward-facing audio and image recording devices in your alternating-current locomotive fleet, and that you are upgrading the technology with crash-hardening protections. Please notify us of your progress toward upgrading the older technology and the status of prototype fixes going forward. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation R-15-28 remains classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 7/6/2018
Response: -From Kenneth J. Hylander, Executive Vice President and Chief Safety Officer: Amtrak currently has 104 locomotives equipped with outward and inward facing cameras. Since 2007, Amtrak has installed outward-facing audio and image recorders on Amtrak owned controlling locomotive cabs and cab cars. Beginning in 2015, Amtrak installed stand-alone inward facing Locomotive Digital Recording Systems - Video (LDRS-V) for audio and digital video on all active ACS-64 Locomotives operating on the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Amtrak has exchanged its previously installed LDRS-V with upgraded LDRS-V's to provide 12hr recording capacity and synchronization of both inward and outward video/audio recordings with the event recorder on ACS-64 units. Amtrak completed the exchange of all ACS-64 LDRS-V units to support the Inward and Outward camera recording synchronization. 35 of 40 Acela trainset power cars are complete and an additional 3 power cars are partially complete. Completion of the Acela trainsets is on target for completion by Dec 2018 or earlier. Installations for all other fleets including the P42 fleet have been postponed pending resolution of a conflict with a secondary system used to remotely connect to the camera system and Event recorder for management and collection of the onboard data. This system utilizes a lx modem which must be upgraded due to pending network obsolescence and inability to support large data files required with the newer increased resolution camera system. Amtrak is quickly working to determine upgrade options of the onboard train communications data hardware to address this issue. Remaining Amtrak fleets will be completed pending resolution of the Train communications onboard hardware upgrade solution and resolution of vendor software performance issues. Amtrak will provide an updated installation schedule based on vendor resolution of technical issues. Amtrak will continue to provide semi-annual progress reports.

From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 1/25/2018
Response: We are pleased that you have installed inward- and outward-facing audio and image recording devices in your alternating current locomotive fleet, and that you are upgrading the technology with crash hardening protections. Please ensure we are notified of your progress in upgrading the older technology and the status of the prototype going forward. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation R-15-28 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 12/28/2017
Response: -From Richard H. Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer: Since 2007, Amtrak has installed outward-facing audio and image recorders on Amtrak-owned controlling locomotive cabs and cab cars. Beginning in 2015, Amtrak installed stand-alone inward-facing Locomotive Digital Recording Systems - Video (LDRS-V) for audio and digital video on all active ACS-64 locomotives operating on the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Amtrak is currently exchanging its previously installed LDRS-V with upgraded LDRS-V's to provide 12-hour recording capacity and synchronization of both inward- and outward-video/audio recordings with the event recorder on ACS-64 units. Amtrak issued a procurement contract in March 2017 for an LDRS-V system that incorporates a minimum 12-hour crash hardened continuous recorder and the capability of synchronized audio and video recordings with the event recorder for all its remaining active locomotives and cab cars. The LDRS-V First Article Inspection (FAI) was completed August 2017 at the vendor's facility. Amtrak completed prototype installations on an Acela Power Car and a Genesis-type (P42, P32DM or P40) locomotive in September 2017. Problems discovered during operation of the prototype installations remain unresolved, and Amtrak has issued a cure notice to its vendor to correct the discrepancies. Installations are in progress on the Ace la fleet and initial installations of wiring for the P42 fleet will be in January 2018.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 7/13/2017
Response: -From C.W. Moorman, President and Chief Executive Officer: Since 2007, Amtrak has installed outward-facing audio and image recorders on Amtrak owned controlling locomotive cabs and cab cars. Beginning in 2015, Amtrak installed stand-alone inward facing Locomotive Digital Recording Systems- Video (LDRS-V) for audio and digital video on all active ACS-64 Locomotives operating on the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Amtrak is currently exchanging its previously installed LDRS-V with upgraded LDRS-V's to provide 12-hour capacity and synchronization of both inward and outward video/audio recordings with the event recorder on ACS-64 units. Amtrak issued a procurement contract in March 2017 for an LDRS-V system that incorporates a minimum 12-hour crash hardened continuous recorder and the capability of synchronized audio and video recordings with the event recorder for all of its remaining active locomotives and cab cars. The LDRS-V First Article Inspection (FAT) is expected in early August 20 17 at the vendor's facility. Amtrak plans to complete prototype installations on an Acela Power Car and a Genesis type (P42, P32DM or P40) locomotive also in August 2017.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 10/31/2016
Response: -From C.W. Moorman, President and Chief Executive Officer: Since 200 7, Amtrak has installed outward-facing audio and image recorders on Amtrak-owned controlling locomotive cabs and cab cars. Beginning in 2015, Amtrak has installed inward- and outward facing audio and image recorders on all ACS-64 Locomotives operating on the No1theast Corridor (NEC); this comprises 69 out of 70 locomotives, with the 601 currently out of service for repairs. Enclosed is the specification for the system installed in all ACS-64 locomotives operating on the NEC. This system currently includes two separate recording devices for the outward- and inward-facing data. Amtrak recognizes that this system presents possible future obsolescence issues and is working to draft a specification for an integrated system that includes a crash-hardened memory with a minimum 12-hour capacity. Also enclosed is the draft specification for the integrated system Amtrak is developing.

From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 6/9/2016
Response: Safety Recommendations R-15-28 through R-15-30 were reclassified in NTSB Railroad Accident Report RAR-16-02, concerning the May 12, 2015 accident in which Amtrak passenger train 188 derailed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The engineer’s inability to report what happened in the moments before the accident presented a challenge to investigators. Inward-facing audio and image recorders in the cab would have provided important information in this case—and many others—to assist investigators in understanding what happened. Such cameras are installed on some trains and have assisted the NTSB in recent investigations. As a result, on July 8, 2015, the NTSB issued the following recommendations to Amtrak: R-15-28 Install, in all controlling locomotive cabs and cab car operating compartments, crash- and fire-protected inward-and outward-facing audio and image recorders capable of providing recordings to verify that train crew actions are in accordance with rules and procedures that are essential to safety as well as train operating conditions. The devices should have a minimum 12-hour continuous recording capability with recordings that are easily accessible for review, with appropriate limitations on public release, for the investigation of accidents or for use by management in carrying out efficiency testing and systemwide performance monitoring programs R-15-29 Semi-annually, issue a public report detailing Amtrak’s progress in installing crash- and fire-protected inward- and outward-facing audio and image recorders. The report should include the number of locomotives and cab car operating compartments that have been equipped with the recorders, as well as the number of locomotives and cab car operating compartments in Amtrak’s fleet that still lack those devices R-15-30 Regularly review and use in-cab audio and image recordings in conjunction with other performance data to verify crewmember actions are in accordance with rules and procedures that are essential to safety. In a letter dated March 10, 2016, Amtrak reported that it had installed inward-facing video cameras meeting the specifications in the recommendation on its current fleet of 57 ACS-64 locomotives and that it continues to install them throughout the fleet. Amtrak stated it was planning to install crash-hardened units incorporating event recorders on its fleet and would release another installation progress report in October 2016. Amtrak also stated it had developed a policy for the use of data obtained by inward- and outward-facing audio and image recorders. On the basis of this response, recommendations R-15-28 through -30 are classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
Date: 5/25/2016
Response: We are pleased with Amtrak’s installation of inward- and outward-facing audio and image recording devices in its alternating current (AC) locomotive fleet. Please provide the specifications of the recording devices for our review so that we can ensure they meet the criteria of the recommendation’s 12 hour continuous recording capabilities. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation R-15-28 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
To: NTSB
Date: 3/10/2016
Response: -From Joseph H. Boardman, President and Chief Executive Officer: Since 2007, Amtrak has installed outward-facing audio and image recorders on Amtrak-owned controlling locomotive cabs and cab cars. Beginning in 2015, Amtrak has installed inward- and outward facing audio and image recorders which meet the specifications noted in the recommendation on all ACS-64 Locomotives. Additional installations throughout the fleet continue to occur.