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Railroad Safety


Railroad Safety Dan Feltes Introduction Importance of Rail Safety: First Fundamental Cannon of the ASCE: Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Railroad Safety

Railroad Safety
  • Dan Feltes

  • Importance of Rail Safety
  • First Fundamental Cannon of the ASCE
  • Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health
    and welfare of the public and shall strive to
    comply with the principles of sustainable 1
  • The Highest Priority of the Federal Railroad
    Administration is the Safety of the US railroad
    system 2
  • Safest form of major Land Transportation
  • Over a period of time, Railroad travel remains
    the safest mode3
  • Safety is Important for the Potentially high risk
  • but the hazard potential if train and railroad
    maintenance operations must be respected 3
  • High quantities of Hazardous wastes traveling at
    High speed offer enormous opportunity for
    catastropheYet, rail is orders of magnitude more
    safe than highway-truck transportation.
  • Rail Versus Truck A Perspective On Safety

From the Text...
  • Training
  • Link Between Safety and Freight Claims
  • Two elements are often placed in one organization
    because technology training and discipline to
    minimize personal injury and equipment also
    contribute toward reducing damaged shipments 3
  • Safety and Accident Reporting
  • Required by law since 1910
  • Change in reporting of accidents in 1979
  • Casualties- Defined as Any accident requiring
    medical attention rater than those involving lost
    work days. 3
  • Train Accident gt 6,200 (1994)gt Train Incident
  • Train Accidents added up to 180 million dollars
    of damage in 1994
  • 43 lower than 15 years prior
  • Train Incidents account for 90 of all railroad
    operations fatalities

Just the Facts and Stats
  • More people die in highway-rail crashes each year
    than in commercial airline crashes in an average
    year. 4
  • In the US, approximately every 115 minutes (or 2
    hours) a train collides with a person or a
    vehicle. 4
  • A motorist is 40 times more likely to die in a
    collision with a train than in a collision with
    another motor vehicle 4
  • However Rail passengers are extremely safe in
    fact, since 1980 fewer people have died in rail
    passenger accidents than die in two days on the
    nation's highways 5

Breakdown of Accidents
  • Rail Crossing Account for more than 50 of all
    railroad Fatalities
  • And 50 of Rail Crossing Fatalities were at
    active crossing systems (systems with a minimum
    of cross bars and lights)
  • By far the biggest safety issues faced by
    railroads involve highway-rail grade crossings
    and trespassers
  • During 1996, more than 92 percent of all
    rail-related fatalities involved either grade
    crossings or trespassers --958 out of 1,039
  • These sobering statistics lead to the development
    of educational programs like Operation Lifesaver

Railroad Crossings
  • A tin can is to a car... as a car is to a
    train- unknown
  • Examples of Railroad Crossings
  • Operation Lifesaver
  • http//www.oli.org/ets.htmlsigns
  • Crossing Crash Statistics For 1998
  • Ames
  • Iowa Crossing Incidents - safetydata.fra.dot.gov/O
  • Public Crossing 90 Percent of National Ave 2.91
  • Private Crossing 14 Percent of National Ave 3.31
  • National Crossing Incidents - safetydata.fra.dot.g
  • Public Crossing 3,086
  • Private Crossing 422

Internal Railroad Issues
  • Employee Accidents
  • Trespassing Accidents

Railroad Safety Organizations
  • Federal Railroad Association (FRA)-
  • The FRA, has the responsibility for ensuring
    railroad safety throughout the nation
    To monitor railroad
    compliance with federally mandated safety
    standards, FRA employs 400 inspectors operating
    out of 47 offices throughout the country
  • Operation Lifesaver - www.oli.org/oli/index.html
  • An answer to FRA need for better public railroad
    safety awarness, Operation Lifesaver is a
    nationwide, non-profit public information
    program dedicated to eliminating collisions,
    injuries and fatalities at highway-rail grade
    crossings and on railroad rights-of-way.
  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
  • A federal organization responsible for
    investigating significant transportation
  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health
  • Government agency created to insure a safe
    workplace for all railroad employees

RR Company Safety Departments
  • Union Pacific Railroad- www.uprr.com/uprr/she/ol.s
  • CSX- www.csx.com/aboutus/financial/safety/
  • Canada National Railway (CN)-
  • www.cn.ca/cnwebsite/cnwebsite.nsf/public/en_SESaf
  • Safest Company
  • Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad-

Designing For Safety
Local Safety Issues
  • Recent Accident in NW Iowa
  • NEAR ALTON, Iowa, Nov. 18th. Two trains were on
    the same stretch of track when they collided
    around 1115 Wednesday 11/17/99 night.
  • http//msnbc.com/local/KTIV/58277.asp
  • Duff Crossing Improvements
  • Traffic Cameras
  • Crossing Surface Repairs
  • New Automated Horn Warning System
  • Provides for safer crossing and lowers noise
  • www.dot.state.ia.us/trainhorn.htm
  • Old Train Wreck

Infamous Accidents
  • Worst Accident on Record
  • Modane, France 12/17/1917
  • Brakes fail on an overloaded train returning from
    the Italian front during WWI
  • Approximately 800 French troops perish
  • http//danger-ahead.railfan.net/accidents/modane/h
  • Potentially Worst Accident (No Records)
  • Samastipur, India 6/6/1981
  • Seriously overcrowded train
  • Few Facts no official inquiry
  • Some estimates include 3000 fatalities
  • http//danger-ahead.railfan.net/accidents/samastip
  • Worst Domestic Accident
  • Nashville, TN 7/18/1918
  • 101 Casualties

Future of Rail Safety
  • Research and Development Centers
  • New Safety Technology

  • 1 American Society of Civil Engineers website at
  • 2 Ditmeyer, Steven. Railroad Safety Research.
    TR News. July-August 1999, Number 203
  • 3 Armstrong, John A. The Railroad What it is,
    What it Does. 4th Ed. Simmons-Boardman Books. p.
    269-273. 1998.
  • 4 Operation Lifesavers website at
  • 5 North American Freight Railroad Online at
  • 6 Federal Railroad Administration Website at
  • safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/Default.asp
  • 7

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