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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-16-034
Synopsis: About 9:21 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 12, 2015, eastbound Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation) passenger train 188 derailed at milepost 81.62 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The train had just entered the Frankford Junction curve—where the speed is restricted to 50 mph—at 106 mph. It was dark and 81°F with no precipitation; visibility was 10 miles. As the train entered the curve, the locomotive engineer applied the emergency brakes. Seconds later, the train—one locomotive and seven passenger cars—derailed. There were 245 passengers, 5 on-duty Amtrak employees, and 3 off-duty Amtrak employees on board. Eight passengers were killed, and 185 others were transported to area hospitals. The NTSB determines that the probable cause of the accident was the engineer’s acceleration to 106 mph as he entered a curve with a 50 mph speed restriction, due to his loss of situational awareness likely because his attention was diverted to an emergency situation with another train. Contributing to the accident was the lack of a positive train control system. Contributing to the severity of the injuries were the inadequate requirements for occupant protection in the event of a train overturning.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: After form 6180.54 is modified as specified in Safety Recommendation R-16-33, use the data regarding number of crewmembers in the controlling cab of the train at the time of an accident to evaluate the safety adequacy of current crew size regulations.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Initial Response Received
Mode: Railroad
Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: 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: 6/9/2016
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Open - Initial Response Received)

Safety Recommendation History
From: FRA
Date: 8/23/2017
Response: -From Heath Hall, Acting Administrator: To address the recommendations, and to more fully evaluate the need for the suggested modifications to the accident reporting form, FRA asked the members of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) at a meeting on May 25, 2017, to consider possible changes and updates to 49 CPR Part 225, Railroad Accidents/Incidents: Reports Classification, and Investigations, including the addition of new or desired fields of information to be collected on Form F 6180.54. The RSAC is expected to form a working group to meet and discuss modifications to Form F 6180.54, and other rep9rting forms, along with several modifications to the FRA Reporting Guide. The working group may require several meetings to work out the modifications, and it will recommend various changes for a vote by the full RSAC. Those items agreed upon by the full voting RSAC will be implemented. The RSAC process may take 12 months or more, but FRA will have consensus with railroad management and railroad labor groups to make agreed-upon changes to the form. When changes to Form F 6180.54 are implemented, FRA will use the data captured on the form to evaluate the safety adequacy of current crew size regulations. The updated form will provide additional information that will improve our analysis. Accordingly, FRA respectfully requests that NTSB classify Safety Recommendations R-16-33 and R-16-34 as "Open Acceptable Response."

From: NTSB
Date: 6/9/2017
Response: On May 17, 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) adopted its report concerning the May 12, 2015, accident in which Amtrak passenger train 188 derailed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.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,, under report number RAR-16/02. As a result of this investigation, we reiterated Safety Recommendation R-14-74 to the Federal Railroad Administration; reclassified Safety Recommendations R-15-28, R-15-29, and R-15-30 to Amtrak; closed Safety Recommendation R-13-23 to the Federal Railroad Administration; and issued 11 new safety recommendations, including one to Amtrak; one to the American Public Transportation Association and the Association of American Railroads; two to the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia Fire Department, and the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management; one to the mayor of Philadelphia; one to the National Association of State EMS Officials, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Association of EMS Physicians, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs; and the following five recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration.