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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-07-004
Details
Synopsis: On Sunday, July 10, 2005, about 4:15 a.m., central daylight time, two CN freight trains collided head on in Anding, Mississippi. The collision occurred on the CN Yazoo Subdivision, where the trains were being operated under a centralized traffic control signal system on single track. Signal data indicated that the northbound train, IC2 1013 North, continued past a stop (red) signal at North Anding and collided with the southbound train, IC 1023 South, about 1/4 mile beyond the signal. The collision resulted in the derailment of 6 locomotives and 17 cars. About 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel were released from the locomotives and resulted in a fire that burned for about 15 hours. Two crewmembers were on each train; all four were killed. As a precaution, about 100 Anding residents were evacuated; they did not report any injuries. Property damages exceeded $9.5 million; clearing and environmental cleanup costs totaled about $616,800.
Recommendation: TO THE PIPELINE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: With the assistance of the Federal Railroad Administration, require that railroads immediately provide to emergency responders accurate, real-time information regarding the identity and location of all hazardous materials on a train.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Railroad
Location: Anding, MS, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA 05 MR 011
Accident Reports:
Report #: RAR-07-01
Accident Date: 7/10/2005
Issue Date: 4/25/2007
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: PHMSA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 4/7/2017
Response: We are aware that the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act has mandated that PHMSA require that an accurate hazardous materials/train consist be provided to emergency responders so they can be prepared for any accidents as the material moves through their communities. Pending your completion of rulemaking and our review of the new rule, Safety Recommendation R-7-4 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/9/2016
Response: -From Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator: PHMSA and FRA have been working together under the scope of the Rail Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) to address several hazardous materials issues.1 Specifically, the RSAC Task No. 15-04 (Hazardous Materials Issues Working Group)-which kicked off in November 2015-discussed revisions to the emergency response information requirements under the general operating requirements in 49 CFR Part 174 for the provision of real-time information. PHMSA is also working on a rulemaking to provide accurate, real-time emergency response information in response to the mandate specified in Section 7302 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015. PHMSA is working on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to address the FAST Act.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/16/2016
Response: -From Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator: The PHMSA concurs. The pilot tests of the Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communication for Efficient and Safe Shipments (HM-ACCESS) program have been completed. Volpe has completed its draft of the feasibility and assessment report and the target transmission date to Congress is the end of December 2015. Furthermore, Section 7302 of the FAST Act mandates PHMSA to issue regulations to require Class I railroads transporting hazmat to generate accurate, real-time electronic train consist information, no later than 1 year from the date of enactment of the Act. Additionally, the mandate requires that the railroads to provide fusion centers with secure access to the train consist information; and to require fusion centers6 to share this information with State and local first responders, emergency response officials, and other personnel involved in response to or investigation of a rail incident or emergency. Accordingly, PHMSA has initiated a rulemaking to adopt the Section 7302 FAST Act mandates and expects to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the July 2016 timeframe.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 3/19/2015
Response: From the NTSB’s comments to Docket No. PHMSA–2013–0225 (HM–218H), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), Hazardous Materials: Miscellaneous Amendments, published on January 23, 2015. LPG Odorant Tank Marking The NPRM proposes changes to the regulations addressing shipping odorized LPG in containers marked “non-odorized” or “not-odorized”. Following the investigation of the July 2005 collision of two Canadian National Railway (CN) freight trains with release of hazardous materials in Anding, Mississippi, the NTSB issued the following safety recommendation to PHMSA: With the assistance of the Federal Railroad Administration, require that railroads immediately provide to emergency responders accurate, real-time information regarding the identity and location of all hazardous materials on a train. (R-07-4) The NTSB has reiterated this safety recommendation in both the Cherry Valley, Illinois, and Paulsboro, New Jersey, accident reports. Thus, we remain concerned that timely and accurate hazard communications—that is, identifying the nature of the hazardous materials involved in accidents through proper shipping paper description, marking, labeling, and placarding—continues to be one of the most frequently cited difficulties facing the emergency response community at hazardous materials accident scenes. In this NPRM, PHMSA proposes to revise 49 CFR 172.301(f), 172.326(d), and 172.328(e) to allow nonbulk packaging, portable tanks, and cargo tanks used for both odorized and non-odorized LPG to be transported in tanks marked “non-odorized” or “not-odorized.” Shipping papers are required under 49 CFR 172.203(p) to include the word “non-odorized” or “not-odorized” in association with the proper shipping description on a shipping paper when non-odorized LPG is offered for transportation. The shipping paper, in combination with package markings, are intended to aid emergency responders and enhance transportation safety. Therefore, under such circumstances where odorized LPG would be authorized in tanks marked “non odorized” or “not-odorized,” the shipping paper description would conflict with the tank marking information. Although PHMSA has permitted this labeling deviation on certain LPG tanks since 2004, we believe the existing and proposed regulatory change could lead to confusion among emergency responders during an emergency, as first responders must rely on accurate hazard communications. We are concerned that the “non-odorized”/“not-odorized” package markings would be rendered meaningless by the proposal to allow such a marking on a tank containing odorized LPG. We also believe it is poor policy to allow such mislabeling of LPG tanks merely for logistical convenience. While the HMR does not require odorization in all cases, the requirement to properly mark these packages as “odorized” or “not (non)-odorized” based on the actual condition of the LPG being transported (odorized or not odorized) should be a fundamental tenet to emergency response planning and execution involving hazardous materials in transportation. Therefore, the NTSB urges PHMSA not to approve the proposed rule changes and suggests that instead, PHMSA approve an acceptable means for the “non-odorized” or “not-odorized” marking to be temporarily covered whenever the container is used to transport odorized LPG.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 2/24/2015
Response: Although we are concerned that almost 8 years have elapsed since we issued this recommendation, we are encouraged that you and the FRA are nearing completion of research on a paperless pilot program for hazard communications, Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communications for Efficient and Safe Shipments (HM-ACCESS). We understand that the Office of Management and Budget granted approval for information collection, authorizing you to begin conducting inspections and to initiate pilot tests of emergency response simulations in three or four US regions, including one rural area. We note that you will start these pilot tests in early 2015, and will collect data to analyze the impacts of using electronic systems to communicate information regarding the shipping of hazardous materials. We further note that you will submit the results of the program to Congress later in 2015. Pending completion of the pilot testing and our review of the results, Safety Recommendation R-07-4 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/24/2014
Response: -From Timothy Butters, Acting Administrator: We note the NTSB’s comment to our September 6, 2013 advance notice of proposed rulemaking (78 FR 54849) informing us that it continues to investigate accidents where emergency responders did not receive timely and accurate hazard information from railroad operators, including the November 30, 2012, Paulsboro, New Jersey, derailment. The NTSB believes that available technologies can and should be used to supplement the paper-based train consist for improving the dissemination of chemical hazard information to emergency responders. We agree, and as noted by the NTSB, PHMSA is diligently working towards completion of research on a paperless hazard communications pilot Program, also known as HM-ACCESS (Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communications for Efficient and Safe Shipments). We received Office of Management and Budget approval on an information collection request allowing us to proceed with conducting inspections and emergency response simulation pilot tests in three or four U.S. regions (including one rural area). Furthermore, we expect to start the pilot tests in early 2015 and will also collect data to analyze the impacts of using electronic systems to communicate hazardous materials shipping paper information including emergency response information. Finally, we expect to submit a feasibility and assessment report to Congress sometime in 2015.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 8/26/2014
Response: From the report "Conrail Freight Train Derailment with Vinyl Chloride Release" Paulsboro, New Jersey, November 30, 2012, Notation 8475A, RAR-14-01, adopted July 29, 2014, published August 26, 2014: In a May 15, 2012, response to Safety Recommendation R-07-02, the FRA informed the NTSB that it had met with the AAR, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), and PHMSA to discuss the available systems and to identify systemic gaps and formulate measures to close those gaps. Although the FRA appears to be taking some action, the agency as of the issuance of this report had not clearly identified any specific initiatives to address Safety Recommendation R-07-02. Therefore, Safety Recommendation R-07-02 is classified “Open—Unacceptable Response.” On September 6, 2013, PHMSA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (Federal Register 2013, 66326), seeking comment on the implementation of a response to Safety Recommendation R-07-04. The NTSB commented that it continues to investigate accidents where emergency responders did not receive timely and accurate hazard information from railroad operators, including the November 30, 2012, Paulsboro, New Jersey, derailment. The NTSB believes that available technologies can and should be used to supplement the paper-based train consist for improving the dissemination of chemical hazard information to emergency responders. However, Safety Recommendation R-07-04 has remained open for more than 5 years. The NTSB is encouraged by the PHMSA Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo NTSB Railroad Accident Report 33 Communications for Efficient and Safe Shipments program and notes that PHMSA has instituted a paperless hazard communication pilot program to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of paperless electronic communication systems. Therefore, Safety Recommendation R-07-04 is classified “Open—Acceptable Response.” While Conrail did verbally relay information about the hazardous materials to emergency responders, the train consist and emergency response information were not provided to the incident command for more than 3 hours. The NTSB concludes that during the early hours following the accident, Conrail personnel did not immediately provide critical hazardous materials information to emergency responders that could have assisted in executing a safer response to this accident. Therefore, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendation R-07-02 to the FRA and Safety Recommendation R-07-04 to PHMSA.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 12/5/2013
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) September 6, 2013, advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), “Hazardous Materials: Rail Petitions and Recommendations to Improve the Safety of Railroad Tank Car Transportation.” In this notice, PHMSA is considering revisions to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) that are based on eight petitions received from the regulated community and four NTSB safety recommendations. The notice requested public comments on whether the proposed amendments would enhance safety and would revise and clarify the HMR with regard to rail transport. Implementing these recommendations, as well as the other listed petitions in the ANPRM that address tank car design improvements, will significantly improve hazardous materials transportation safety. Among the proposed amendments to the HMR are enhanced design standards for specification DOT-111 tank cars used to transport Packing Group (PG) I and II hazardous materials. Three of the four NTSB recommendations listed in the ANPRM directly address improving the tank car standards for transporting hazardous liquids. The fourth NTSB recommendation listed in the ANPRM asks PHMSA to improve the hazardous materials documentation and information that is provided to emergency responders. Based on previous and ongoing NTSB accident investigations, the documented poor accident performance of existing specification DOT-111 tank cars continues to raise serious concerns about the safety of communities, emergency responders, and other individuals who may come in contact with flammable hazardous materials transported in these cars. The NTSB would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of the expeditious implementation of four Safety Recommendations—R-12-5, R-12-6, R-12-7, and reiterated R-07-4—that were issued as a result of the June 19, 2009, derailment of an ethanol unit train of DOT-111 tank cars in Cherry Valley, Illinois. All four safety recommendations are addressed in the ANPRM. These safety recommendations urge PHMSA to take the following actions: Require that all newly manufactured and existing general service tank cars authorized for transportation of denatured fuel ethanol and crude oil in Packing Groups I and II have enhanced tank head and shell puncture resistance systems and top fittings protection that exceeds existing design requirements for DOT-111 tank cars. (R-12-5) Require that all bottom outlet valves used on newly manufactured and existing non-pressure tank cars are designed to remain closed during accidents in which the valve and operating handle are subjected to impact forces. (R-12-6) Require that all newly manufactured and existing tank cars authorized for the transportation of hazardous materials have center sill or draft sill attachment designs that conform to the revised Association of American Railroads’ design requirements adopted as a result of Safety Recommendation R-12-9. (R-12-7) With the assistance of the Federal Railroad Administration, require that railroads immediately provide to emergency responders accurate, real-time information regarding the identity and location of all hazardous materials on a train. (R-07-4) (Reiterated) Recent accidents, such as the July 6, 2013, train accident in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada, which resulted in 47 fatalities and the destruction of the town center, illustrate the danger posed to the public when transporting flammable liquids under the existing regulations that govern the transportation of hazardous materials in railroad tank cars. This is particularly concerning given that, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), from 2005 through 2012, crude oil traffic by railroad has increased by a factor of 37, with more than 266,000 car loads in 2012. Ethanol traffic increased by a factor of 4.4 from 2005 to 2011, with about 342,000 car loads per year. Thus, crude oil and ethanol represent the vast majority of hazardous materials shipments on railroads today and deserve special consideration. Train cars containing flammable liquids, such as DOT-111 tank cars, are assembled in many groups of three or more in the train consist. A more significant hazard results when the entire train is assembled with only crude oil, as was the case in the Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, train derailment, or ethanol tank cars. These so-called “unit trains” are becoming the preferred configuration for moving crude oil by railroad from the production field to the refinery. Regardless of the train configuration, recent railroad accidents have shown that using DOT-111 tank cars to ship flammable liquids creates an unacceptable public risk. In light of the Quebec accident and most recently, the derailment of DOT-111 tank cars in Aliceville, Alabama, on November 7, 2013, that resulted in a large crude oil release and fire, the NTSB urges PHMSA to take immediate action to require a safer package for transporting flammable hazardous materials by rail. In the Cherry Valley, Illinois, accident report, the NTSB noted that DOT-111 tank cars have a high incidence of tank failures during accidents, and cited several accident investigations dating back to 1991. Since the NTSB issued its report, additional tank car derailment accidents with catastrophic outcomes further demonstrate that improved requirements for rail transportation of flammable liquids is warranted and should be based on sound risk assessment methodology. The NTSB also believes that an aggressive retrofit and/or phase-out program is necessary for existing DOT-111 tank cars to improve rail transportation safety. The NTSB has classified the Cherry Valley, Illinois, safety recommendations as “Open?Acceptable Response” pending completion of the PHMSA rulemaking that satisfies these safety recommendations. The urgency of acting on the NTSB safety recommendations was not fully recognized until the severity of the Lac-Mégantic accident was realized. Accordingly, with the unprecedented volume of flammable liquids currently in rail commerce, the NTSB urges PHMSA to make this rulemaking a priority to avoid future catastrophic accidents. The NTSB has reviewed the Association of American Railroads (AAR) November 14, 2013, comments to the ANPRM docket, filed jointly with the American Shortline and Regional Railroad Association, that support improving tank car design standards, and the NTSB is encouraged that these two organizations recognize the current regulations governing construction of the DOT-111 tank car are insufficient for ensuring the safe transportation of flammable liquids. The NTSB also is encouraged that the AAR has reconsidered its initial petition, P-1577, and now advocates more comprehensive safety improvements well beyond those it initially proposed to improve accident performance of DOT-111 tank cars. Regarding Safety Recommendation R-07-4, the NTSB continues to investigate accidents where emergency responders did not receive timely and accurate hazard information from railroad operators. Following the November 30, 2012, derailment of a Conrail freight train with release of vinyl chloride in Paulsboro, New Jersey, the NTSB convened an investigative hearing on July 9–10, 2013. Emergency responders testified at the hearing that their response actions were hindered by the lack of timely and accurate train consist information. The availability of a consist document that conveys the identity and location of hazardous materials on a train involved in an accident is critical to executing a safe emergency response. Important safety decisions that rely on timely hazard communications include determining appropriate isolation distances, deciding whether evacuation or shelter-in-place is appropriate, determining appropriate health and safety protocols for responders and rescuers, and deciding appropriate firefighting tactics. The NTSB strongly believes that available technologies can and should be used to supplement the paper-based train consist for improving the dissemination of chemical hazard information to emergency responders. However, we are very disappointed that Safety Recommendation R-07-4 has remained open for more than 5 years. The NTSB is encouraged by the PHMSA Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communications for Efficient and Safe Shipments program (HM-ACCESS) and notes that PHMSA has instituted a paperless hazard communication pilot program to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of paperless electronic communication systems. Pending completion of the recommended action, the NTSB has classified Safety Recommendation R-07-4 “Open–Acceptable Response.” The NTSB urges PHMSA to promptly move these critical safety initiatives forward by implementing our recommendations and promulgating improved and effective regulations addressing hazardous liquids transportation in the railroad industry. The NTSB appreciates the opportunity to comment on the notice.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 10/23/2013
Response: We are encouraged that PHMSA and the FRA are considering the use of technology by the railroads to update train consist information in real time to identify the location of all hazardous materials on a train, that PHMSA’s Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communication for Efficient and Safe Shipping (HM-ACCESS) project continues evaluating the use of electronic shipping papers, and PHMSA will conduct pilot tests to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of paperless electronic communication systems. Pending completion of these actions and the recommended action, Safety Recommendation R-07-4 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/16/2013
Response: -From Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has completed a retrospective review of 49 CFR Part 174, which is the part of the hazardous materials regulations (49 CFR Parts 171-180) that applies to persons who accept and transport hazardous materials (hazmat) by rail. This review was conducted in accordance with Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review to identify regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome. The FRA and PHMSA are working together to determine the best path forward to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal regulations in 49 CFR Part 174 that would, in part, address this Safety Recommendation and the companion Safety Recommendation R-07-2 issued to the FRA. Among those regulations identified as outmoded and insufficient is the requirement for notice to train crews of the current position of hazmat rail car(s). The FRA and PHMSA are considering the use of technology by the railroads to update train consist information on a real time basis, which would identify the current location of all rail cars including the positions of rail car(s) containing hazardous materials. This may include regulations requiring real-time updates on the position of hazmat cars that would specifically address the gaps in not having the most current information available because of activity (car pick-ups and set outs) performed between automatic equipment identification (AEI) readers that are only able to update the train consist as a train passes a reader. Additionally, the FRA believes that better identification of rail cars moving under One-Time Movement Approvals (OTMAs) listed on the train consist would provide further benefit to emergency responders as these cars generally have some manner of defect. Previously, we informed the NTSB of the initiation of the “Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communication for Efficient and Safe Shipping” (HM-ACCESS) project. PHMSA is considering two key initiatives under HM-ACCESS, both of which may lead to regulatory changes. First, PHMSA continues evaluating several special permit applications for the use of electronic shipping papers. Second, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) instructs PHMSA under § 33005 to conduct pilot tests to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of paperless hazard (e-HM) communication systems. PHMSA has completed a series of public meetings and has obtained stakeholder feedback regarding e-HM that will be helpful in the implementation of HM-ACCESS. Information and other documents summarizing feedback from the emergency response community and industry are available at: http://phmsa.dot.gov/initiatives/r-and-d. PHMSA is preparing for the implementation of several pilot tests during the second half of 2013, and many stakeholders have expressed great interest in participating. We hope to conduct the pilot tests in three or four regions of the United States with at least one pilot test in a rural area. A summary paper defining the pilot tests can also be accessed at the aforementioned website. Continued progress on these two projects will result in modernizing and improving the way hazardous materials information is immediately communicated to emergency responders and others by all modes of transportation, including the location of hazmat cars on a train. These efforts will enhance safety as well as address Safety Recommendation R-07-4.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 1/11/2013
Response: The NTSB notes that, on September 26, 2011, PHMSA initiated a project with the Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, titled “Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communication for Efficient and Safe Shipping” (HM ACCESS). On July 6, 2012, the president signed into law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21), authorizing surface transportation programs of the Department of Transportation for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Division C, Title III—Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2012, Section 33005, includes a requirement for the Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct pilot projects to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of using paperless hazard communications systems. We appreciate that PHMSA’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety is collaborating with modal administrations, law enforcement, emergency response organizations and industry representatives to evaluate the feasibility of allowing the use of electronic shipping papers for hazmat shipments. We are aware that MAP-21 requires the Secretary of the DOT to submit a final report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure containing the results of the pilot projects within 2 years of the law’s enactment. In the meantime, pending completion of the recommended action, Safety Recommendation R-07-4 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/19/2012
Response: -From Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator: This letter provides an update on Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) actions relating to several rail Safety Recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), specifically, R-92-23, R-01-03, R-07-4, and R-08-13. Before I discuss actions taken to address these recommendations in greater detail, I would like to inform NTSB of the publication of a final rule that is relevant to Safety Recommendations R-92- 23 and R-01-03. On June 25, 2012, PHMSA published a final rule (HM-216B; 77 FR 37961) that incorporated the Alternative Tank Car Qualification Program into the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). This program was established by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in 1998 in collaboration with PHMSA (under special permit DOT-SP 12095) and the railroad industry. The program served as a minimally acceptable framework for an owner’s qualification program for all DOT and non-DOT specification rail tank cars and their components, and now provides a regulatory alternative to the prescribed qualification requirements in Part 180 of the HMR. The conditions of this new regulation require a tank car owner to develop a qualification program with inspection procedures and intervals, along with acceptance criteria for each prescribed inspection and test. The acceptance criteria must be based on service reliability data and/or analytical evaluation of the tank car or its components. For example, with regard to crack detection, the program allows an owner to develop an alternative qualification program suited to the tank car design and use by permitting an alternative inspection and test program or interval based on a damage tolerance analysis, and contingent on FRA approval. With regard to deterioration and inspection of a pressure relief device (PRD), the program requires qualification of service equipment at least once every ten years and requires an owner to collect and analyze data, and based on the analysis, adjust the inspection and test frequency to ensure that the design level of reliability and safety of service is met. The use of DOT-SP 12095 was widespread with over 550 parties to this special permit. PHMSA is not aware of any incidents associated with owner’s use of the program under this special permit and, moreover, its widespread use resulted in more owners evaluating the performance of their service equipment, including PRDs, over time. In a March 12, 2012 letter to PHMSA, and again in an August 2, 2012 letter, NTSB reiterated Safety Recommendation R-07-4 in association with a number of new recommendations issued to PHMSA as a result of a train derailment at a rail grade crossing in Cherry Valley, Illinois. NTSB originally issued Safety Recommendation R-07-4 as a result of a head-on collision between two freight trains in Anding, Mississippi. PHMSA initiated a project on September 26, 2011 with DOT’s Volpe Center entitled “Hazardous Materials Automated Cargo Communication for Efficient and Safe Shipping” (HM-ACCESS). This research has since been emphasized by the recent enactment of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which includes a requirement for DOT to conduct pilot projects to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of using paperless hazard communications systems. The intent of HM-ACCESS is to identify and evaluate options to complement existing regulatory requirements for a hazardous material shipping paper to allow for electronic communication of the information provided on a shipping paper consistent with the directive under MAP-21. PHMSA has updated its Research and Development website at: http://phmsa.dot.gov/initiatives/r-and-d to communicate the progress and status of this research initiative, as well as through other public outreach efforts. Additionally, PHMSA held a series of workshops on September 27 – 28, 2012 that will be followed by a public meeting to discuss information gathered from stakeholders and next steps toward implementation. I encourage the NTSB to attend and participate. Finally, under the abovementioned HM-216B final rule, PHMSA has authorized for rail transportation the transfer of hazardous material shipping paper information by electronic data interchange. This will further assist in attaining the recommendation to require immediate, real-time information to emergency responders on the identity of hazardous material on a train.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 8/2/2012
Response: On May 15, 2012, the FRA informed the NTSB that it had met with the AAR and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) to provide an overview of Safety Recommendation R-07-2 and its plans to address this recommendation. The FRA further informed us that it had discussed with PHMSA the application of HM-ACCESS (Hazardous Materials–Automated Cargo Communications for Efficient and Safe Shipments). We note that, on May 2, 2012, the FRA met with the AAR, the ASLRRA, and PHMSA to discuss the available systems and to identify the systemic gaps and measures to close those gaps. Although PHMSA did not address Safety Recommendation R-07-4 in its May 30, 2012, letter, we are encouraged that FRA and PHMSA appear to be making some progress in addressing this issue. In our most recent exchanges of correspondence with PHMSA regarding this recommendation (enclosed), PHMSA indicated that it was “evaluating the emergency response issues raised in the recommendation and the Federal, State, and local government and industry programs intended to address those issues.” However, this information is several years old, and we are eager to learn of specific plans that PHMSA has made or actions it has taken since January 2008 to address Safety Recommendation R-07-4. In the meantime, pending our receipt of an update regarding action PHMSA has taken or intends to take to address this recommendation, it remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 3/2/2012
Response: R-07-004 was reiterated in the greensheet issuing recommendations R-12-3 and R-12-4, issued on March 2, 2012. R-12-3 and R-12-4 resulted from the June 19, 2009 freight train derailment at a highway/ rail grade crossing in Cherry Valley, Illinois. All the derailed cars were carrying denatured fuel ethanol, a flammable liquid, which caught fire. From the greensheet: As a result of its investigation of the Anding, Mississippi, train collision, the NTSB recommended that the FRA (Safety Recommendation R-07-2) and PHMSA (Safety Recommendation R-07-4) work together to develop PHMSA regulations requiring that railroads immediately provide to emergency responders accurate, real-time information about the identity and location of all hazardous materials on a train. PHMSA, in a January 22, 2008, response to Safety Recommendation R-07-4, indicated to the NTSB that it was examining (1) ways to improve the availability of accurate and immediate information for emergency responders on the scene of an accident, and (2) strategies for enhancing emergency response planning and training efforts. Additionally, PHMSA indicated that it was evaluating the emergency response issues raised in the safety recommendation and the Federal, state, and local government, and industry programs intended to address those issues. Based on this response, the NTSB classified Safety Recommendation R-07-4 “Open Acceptable Response.” In an October 10, 2007, response to Safety Recommendation R-07-2, the FRA noted the ongoing efforts of the AAR, CHEMTREC, and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association to enhance the availability of hazardous materials information during an accident. But the FRA maintained that the current practice of requiring the physical hand-off of train consists and other hazardous materials information “remains the most accurate method of transferring this information when an accident occurs.” The FRA stated that it had no reason to believe that regulatory revisions are necessary to address this issue. In an April 12, 2011, follow-up response to the safety recommendation, the FRA noted that its regulations require that information on the identity and location of hazardous materials shipments on a train be maintained by a member of the train crew for the benefit of emergency responders. Further, with the FRA’s encouragement, the AAR issued a circular offering to provide hazardous materials information on the top 25 commodities to local emergency response organizations to assist in training and preparing for emergencies. Finally, with the FRA’s encouragement, CSX Transportation, Inc., and CHEMTREC established a real-time information process that provides car content and train consist information on a “one-call” basis. The FRA indicated that it continues to evaluate this process to determine if additional regulations are necessary. While acknowledging the activities and contributions of the AAR, CHEMTREC, and industry stakeholders to facilitate the rapid communication of hazardous materials information, in a January 10, 2011, letter, the NTSB reminded the FRA that the intent of Safety Recommendation R-07-2 was to require railroads to provide to emergency responders information about the identity and location of hazardous materials on a train at the time of an accident and that the FRA had not identified any initiatives it had taken to move this recommendation forward. Therefore, the NTSB continues to classify Safety Recommendation R-07-2 “Open—Unacceptable Response.” The NTSB also supports the HM-ACCESS initiative of PHMSA, which will allow the electronic communication of shipping paper information and improve the availability and accuracy of hazard communications to emergency responders. If implemented as envisioned, railroads will be able to quickly transmit electronically updated and accurate train consist data to emergency responders when accidents occur. However, PHMSA began its HM-ACCESS initiative with public meetings on October 13–14, 2009, to discuss an upcoming proof-of-concept study on the use of electronic documents for hazardous materials shipments, no rulemaking has been initiated by PHMSA or the FRA to require railroads to immediately provide accurate consist information to emergency responders. Therefore, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendations R-07-2 and R-07-4 to the FRA and PHMSA, respectively.

From: NTSB
To: PHMSA
Date: 3/17/2008
Response: The Safety Board notes PHMSA’s agreement that effective emergency response depends on thorough, accurate, real-time information, planning, and training. PHMSA is examining (1) ways to improve the availability of accurate and immediate information for emergency responders at the scene of an accident and (2) strategies for enhancing emergency response planning and training efforts, including more targeted use of the HMEP grant program funds. The Safety Board also notes that PHMSA is currently evaluating the emergency response issues raised in the recommendation and the Federal, State, and local government and industry programs intended to address those issues. These efforts by PHMSA constitute an acceptable response to the recommendations; accordingly, Safety Recommendations R-07-4 and -5 are classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. The Board would appreciate receiving periodic updates as you continue actions to fully implement Safety Recommendations R-07-4 and -5.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/22/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/29/2008 8:53:00 AM MC# 2080032: - From Stacey L. Gerard, Assistant Administrator/ Chief Safety Officer: We share your view that effective emergency response depends on thorough planning and training in advance of an incident and accurate, real-time information during an incident. We are currently evaluating the emergency response issues discussed in your letter and federal, state, and local government and industry programs intended to address those issues. We are considering alternative strategies for enhancing emergency response planning and training efforts, including more targeted use of the HMEP grant program funds. We are also examining ways to improve the accuracy of information available to emergency responders at the scene of an accident and the time necessary to provide such information. Once this evaluation is 2 complete, we will provide you with a detailed response to the recommendations and our plans for addressing the issues you have highlighted. We request that you classify recommendation R-07-4 and R-07-5 as Open Acceptable Action. We thank you for consideration of our request. As a result of these meetings and based on a recommendation from FRA, in March 2005, AAR amended its Recommended Operating Practices Circular No. OT-55 G to establish procedures for rail carriers to provide local emergency response agencies with a ranked listing of the top 25 hazardous materials transported by rail through their communities. This information assists emergency responders to plan and train for specific chemical releases. In addition, in July 2005, CSX Transportation (CSX) and CHEMTREC, the chemical industry’s 24-hour emergency response hotline, initiated a pilot project to test improvements to the emergency response communication system. The pilot project allows CHENITREC to immediately access specific train information, including hazardous materials documentation, from CSX‘s computer system. The system enables emergency responders to obtain virtually real-time information, either verbally or via electronic means, almost immediately after receiving notification of an incident or accident. The system relies in part on train position information on locomotives equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. In December 2006, CHEMTREC implemented a second pilot project to evaluate the utility for emergency response of Railinc Corporation’s FreightscopeTM service, which provides a web-based, interactive dashboard of near-real-time rail shipment location information for North America. The FreightscopeTM system improved CHEMTREC’s ability to provide real- time hazardous materials information about shipments on short line and regional railroads. Also in 2006, Dow Chemical Company and CHEMTREC began a demonstration project intended to improve the visibility of rail shipments of materials that are poisonous by inhalation (PIH) materials. Dow has equipped about 800 tank cars used to transport PIH materials with GPS hardware and sensors. The sensors are designed to monitor changes to the condition of the dome on the tank car, chemical leaks, and car accelerations and to generate an alert when the sensor is triggered. The alert is sent to CHEMTREC, which then contacts the rail carrier or customer to address the condition identified by the alert. FRA and PHMSA will continue to monitor the results of these pilot projects and will consider ways to encourage more widespread use of the tested technologies by railroads and emergency response agencies. In addition to the emergency response demonstration projects, FRA and PHMSA are also examining ways to improve the accident survivability of rail tank cars used to transport PIH materials. We are considering both tank car design and operational factors that affect rail tank car safety and crashworthiness. We expect to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking early in 2008.

From: PHMSA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/9/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/20/2007 1:10:30 PM MC# 2070418: - From Stacey L. Gerard, Assistant Administrator/ Chief Safety Officer: This letter is an initial response to your letter of April 25,2007 concerning Safety Recommendations R-07-4 and R-07-5. These recommendations were issued following the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) investigation of a rail incident on July 10, 2005, in Anding, Mississippi. In the incident, the collision resulted in the derailment of 6 locomotives and 17 rail cars. Approximately 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel were released from the locomotives and resulted in a fire that burned for 15 hours and resulted in the deaths of four train crewmembers. The recommendations state: