Rail

NTSB: Metrolink crash caused by texting operator

Posted on January 22, 2010

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the 2008 rail accident in Chatsworth, Calif., involving a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train, was caused by the Metrolink engineer's prohibited use of a wireless device while he was operating the train.

The engineer failed to respond appropriately to a red signal at Control Point Topanga because he was engaged in text messaging at the time, the NTSB said.

The September 12, 2008 head-on collision resulted in 25 fatalities and more than 100 injuries. As a result of its findings, the NTSB recommended that the Federal government require audio and image recorders in the cabs of all locomotives and in cab car operating compartments.

According to records from the wireless provider, on the day of the accident, while on duty, both the Metrolink engineer and the Union Pacific conductor used wireless devices to send and receive text messages. The engineer also made non-business related voice calls while on duty.

Although Metrolink prohibits its engineers from using wireless devices while operating a train, the privacy afforded by the locomotive cab, once the train leaves a station, makes it difficult for violations of operating rules to be discovered through ordinary management supervision or efficiency testing, the NTSB noted. On previous occasions, the Metrolink engineer also had allowed unauthorized persons to join him in the locomotive cab and even operate the train.

The NTSB also cited the lack of a positive train control system (PTC) as a contributing factor in the accident. A positive train control system would have stopped the Metrolink train short of the red signal, thus preventing the accident.

With the completion of this accident investigation, the NTSB made two recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration:    

  • Require the installation, in all controlling locomotive cabs and cab car operating compartments, of 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.
  • Require that railroads regularly review and use in-cab audio and image recordings (with appropriate limitations on public release), in conjunction with other performance data, to verify that train crew actions are in accordance with rules and procedures that are essential to safety.

A summary of the findings of the Board's report is available on the NTSB's Website at: http://ntsb.gov/Publictn/2010/RAR1001.htm. The  full report will be available on the Website in several weeks.

 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

CRRC announces ship date for MBTA pilot cars

The company is the first Chinese railcar builder to enter into the U.S. rail car manufacturing market.

STV, WSP USA to support L.A. Metro rail vehicle acquisition

Acquisition of new heavy rail vehicles and associated equipment that will play a key part in Metro’s systemwide rail expansion over the next decade.

Stadler breaks ground on railcar manufacturing plant in Salt Lake City

Its 62-acre property boasts 75,000 square feet of production space for the bogie, main, pre- and final assembly of single- and bi-level trains.

Stadler, Fort Worth Transportation Authority unveil 1st U.S. FLIRT train

The new commuter trains for TEXRail have been designed to reach maximum speeds of 81 mph and boast a coupled length of 266 feet each.

Design-build taking transit into the future

Design-build minimizes risk, reduces delivery time, keeps budgets in line, and mitigates funding partner concerns throughout project duration. With traditional design-bid-build, owners, designers, and contractors are segregated from design concept to final construction.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close