RS301: Accident Investigation Orientation for Rail Professionals


This course, led by NTSB senior investigators, details how the Safety Board manages railroad and rail transit accident investigations and what it expects of participants in an NTSB investigation.

ID Code: RS301

Dates, Tuition, Times and Registration

November 8-10, 2021

$925 early registration, by October 8, 2021

$995 late registration, between October 9 and November 1, 2021

Note: payment must be made at time of registration.

Times: 11:00 am – 3:30 pm (Tentative) Course Agenda will be sent a week prior to start date

Status: OPEN. Applications are now being accepted.

Apply to Attend: Register for the November course​


  • NTSB overview and history
  • Authority of the NTSB Office of Railroad, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
  • NTSB go-team and the on-scene investigation
  • The “party” process
  • Post on-scene investigation
  • Services and support provided to families of accident victims
  • Role of the NTSB board member and the Office of Public Affairs
  • Safety recommendations
  • Operations investigation
  • Track investigation
  • Signal and recorder investigation
  • Mechanical investigation
  • Human performance investigation
  • Survival factors investigation
  • Hazardous materials investigation
  • Case studies in investigative areas
  • Optional: TWA flight 800 tutorial and examination of the reconstruction of the aircraft wreckage

Performance Results

Upon completion of this course the participant will be able to:

  • Discuss the entire process, from when the NTSB receives the initial notification that an accident has occurred through the issuance of the final report and determination of the accident’s probable cause
  • Describe the “systems” approach to railroad accident investigation and the NTSB expectations of party members
  • Explain what types of services and support are available to family members of victims of railroad accidents
  • Describe the role of the NTSB Office of Public Affairs in the release of relevant and appropriate information to the public
  • Understand how NTSB and parties interact with the media at the accident site and during the on-going investigation

Who May Attend

  • Investigators from the NTSB and other accident investigation authorities/commissions worldwide
  • Potential participants in an NTSB investigation: investigative, safety and management personnel employed by railroads, transit agencies or equipment/component manufacturers; manufacturers of hazardous materials; civilian and military agencies; and related labor unions
  • Emergency responders
  • State and federal agencies
  • Members of the academic community attending for research purposes (on a space-available basis)

More Information

Contact us at or call (571) 223-3900