[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 152 (Wednesday, August 7, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48224-48229]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-19211]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration

[Safety Advisory 2013-06]

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2013-0196; Notice No. 13-13]


Lac-M[eacute]gantic Railroad Accident Discussion and DOT Safety 
Recommendations

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of Safety Advisory and Announcement of Emergency Meeting 
of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee.

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SUMMARY: A recent catastrophic railroad accident occurred in Canada 
when an unattended freight train containing hazardous materials rolled 
down a descending grade and subsequently derailed. It is currently 
estimated that this accident resulted in 42 fatalities, and 5 persons 
are still reported to be missing. In response, FRA issued Emergency 
Order No. 28 regarding the securement of trains, and FRA and PHMSA 
(collectively, DOT) are also issuing this safety advisory. This safety 
advisory discusses the circumstances surrounding the accident and makes 
certain safety-related recommendations to railroads operating in the 
United States. This safety advisory also provides notice of FRA's 
intent to schedule an emergency meeting of the Railroad Safety Advisory 
Committee to discuss this accident and potential regulatory actions to 
prevent similar future accidents from occurring.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas J. Herrmann, Acting Director, 
Office of Safety Assurance and Compliance, Office of Railroad Safety, 
FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, telephone (202) 
493-6404; Joseph St. Peter, Trial Attorney, Office of Chief Counsel, 
FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, telephone (202) 
493-6047; or Charles Betts, Director, Standards and Rulemaking 
Division, Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, PHMSA, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, telephone (202) 366-8553.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Incident Summary

    On July 6, 2013, a catastrophic accident involving a freight train 
containing loaded tank cars of petroleum crude oil occurred in the town 
of Lac-M[eacute]gantic, Quebec, on the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic 
Railway (MMA). While the accident is still being investigated by 
Canadian authorities and no final determinations have been made, the 
following is known based on preliminary information released by the 
Transportation Safety Board of Canada.\1\
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    \1\ This accident occurred in Canada and DOT is neither 
responsible for determining, nor has jurisdiction to investigate, 
the cause of this accident. Further, Canadian authorities have not 
yet determined the cause of this accident. As such, nothing in this 
safety advisory is intended to attribute a definitive cause to this 
accident or place responsibility for the incident on the acts or 
omissions of any specific person or entity.
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    According to Rail Safety Advisory Letters issued by the 
Transportation Safety Board of Canada on July 19, 2013, the incident is 
summarized as follows. At approximately 10:45 p.m. (EDT) on July 5, 
2013, an MMA train was proceeding eastward from Montreal, Quebec, to 
St. John, New Brunswick. The train was approximately 4,700 feet long, 
weighed over 10,000 tons and consisted of five locomotives, a loaded 
box car, and 72 loaded tank cars containing petroleum crude oil (Class 
3, UN 1267). At approximately 11:00 p.m. the train stopped near mile 
post 7.40 near Nantes, Quebec. At that location the single operator 
secured the train and departed, leaving the train unattended on 
mainline track with a descending grade of approximately 1.2 percent.
    At approximately 11:50 p.m., a local resident reported a fire on 
the lead locomotive (MMA 5017) of the train and the local fire 
department was called and responded with another MMA employee. At 
approximately midnight, in accordance with established operating 
procedures, the lead locomotive was shut down and the fire 
extinguished. After the fire was extinguished, the fire department and 
the MMA employee left the site.
    At approximately 1:00 a.m. the next day, it appears that the train 
began rolling and picking up speed down the descending grade toward the 
town of Lac-M[eacute]gantic, Quebec. Near the center of town, the train 
derailed. The locomotives separated from the train and came to a stop 
approximately \1/2\ mile from the derailment site. The box car and 63 
of the loaded tank cars derailed. A number of derailed tank cars 
released product resulting in multiple explosions and subsequent fires. 
At this time, it is estimated that there were 42 fatalities and 5 
persons are still missing. There was also extensive damage to the town, 
and approximately 2,000 people were evacuated from the surrounding 
area.

Transport Canada Emergency Directive

    In response to this accident, Transport Canada (the Canadian 
government department responsible for regulating transportation safety 
in Canada) issued an emergency railroad directive pursuant to Section 
33 of the Canadian Railway Safety Act.\2\ The directive ordered 
railroad companies in Canada to ensure that:
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    \2\ Available online at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/backgrounders-safety-locomotives-7292.html. Additionally, in 
response to this accident, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada 
issued Rail Safety Advisory Letter--09/13 regarding the securement 
of equipment and trains left unattended; available online at: http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/medias-media/sur-safe/letter/rail/2013/r13d0054/r13d0054-617-09-13.asp.
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     Within five days of the issuance of the directive, all 
unattended controlling locomotives on a main track and sidings are 
protected from unauthorized entry into the cab;
     The directional controls, commonly known as reversers, are 
removed from any unattended locomotives, preventing them from moving 
forward or backward, on a main track or sidings;
     Their company's special instructions on hand brakes are 
applied to any locomotive attached to one or more cars that are left 
unattended for more than one hour on a main track or sidings;
     In addition to complying with their company's special 
instructions on hand brakes referred to in the item immediately above, 
the automatic brake is set in full service position and the independent 
brake is fully applied for any locomotive attached to one or more cars 
that are left unattended for one hour or less on a main track or 
sidings;
     No locomotive attached to one or more loaded tank cars 
transporting dangerous goods is left unattended on a main track; and
     No locomotive attached to one or more loaded tank cars 
transporting dangerous goods is operated on a main track or siding with 
fewer than two persons qualified under their company's requirements for 
operating employees.
    Transport Canada explained in the emergency directive that the 
cause of

[[Page 48225]]

the accident in Lac-M[eacute]gantic remains unknown at this time. 
However, the emergency directive stated that, ``. . . in light of the 
catastrophic results of the Lac-M[eacute]gantic accident and in the 
interest of ensuring the continued safety and security of railway 
transportation, there is an immediate need to clarify the regime 
respecting unattended locomotives on main track and sidings and the 
transportation of dangerous goods in tank cars using a one person crew 
to address any threat to the safety and security of railway 
operations.'' As such, Transport Canada exercised its statutory 
emergency directive authority to order railroad companies in Canada to 
comply with the above-listed requirements. In addition, Transport 
Canada also issued an accompanying order pursuant to paragraph 19(a)(1) 
of the Canadian Railway Safety Act directing railroad companies in 
Canada to formulate or revise certain railroad operating rules, 
respecting the safety and security of unattended locomotives, 
uncontrolled movements, and crew size requirements. The order provides 
that rules should be based on an assessment of safety and security 
risks, and shall at a minimum:
     Ensure that the cab(s) of unattended controlling 
locomotives are secure against unauthorized entry;
     Ensure that the reversers of unattended locomotives are 
removed and secured;
     Prevent uncontrolled movements of railway equipment by 
addressing, at a minimum:
    [cir] The application of handbrakes based on factors including but 
not limited to:
    [cir] Tonnage, gradient, location and fatigue of the operator;
    [cir] The application of independent and automatic brakes; and
    [cir] The application of temporary or permanent derails as a 
secondary line of [defense] at high risk locations such as sidings used 
for storage or main track used for crew change-off, or in high risk 
conditions including consideration of the type of goods being 
transported and environmental conditions, in order to prevent movement 
due to tampering or accidental release of brakes from defective 
components;
     Ensure the security of stationary railway equipment 
transporting ``dangerous goods'' as this expression is defined in 
section 2 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act; and
     Provide for minimum operating crew requirements 
considering technology, length of train, speeds, classification of 
dangerous goods being transported, and other risk factors.

Emergency RSAC Meeting

    The Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) is a group composed 
of railroad industry, labor, and governmental representatives. FRA 
established the RSAC in 1996 to develop recommendations on new 
regulatory standards and other rail safety program issues through a 
collaborative process with all segments of the rail community. FRA 
consults with the RSAC regularly regarding the development of its 
regulatory program, and also to advise the RSAC of emerging issues and 
statutory requirements, and to discuss other identified needs. The RSAC 
may consider a variety of approaches to address safety issues, 
including the use of industry standards, which can complement and be 
incorporated into FRA regulations.
    In light of the Lac-M[eacute]gantic railroad accident, FRA is 
scheduling an emergency meeting of the RSAC to discuss the accident. 
FRA will publish a Federal Register notice to announce the date, time, 
and location of this meeting. At this emergency meeting FRA intends to 
address the safety requirements that were issued in Emergency Order No. 
28, and the recommendations made in this safety advisory. FRA also 
plans to discuss the safety implications and potential costs and 
benefits of the requirements in Transport Canada's emergency directives 
discussed above, and safety-related initiatives going forward, 
including possible new RSAC tasks to implement such safety-related 
initiatives.
    FRA requests that both freight and passenger railroads be prepared 
to discuss the Transport Canada directive requiring that two-person 
crews operate trains carrying hazardous materials on main track. FRA 
believes initiatives to require a minimum of two crewmembers for over-
the-road trains (including both passenger and freight trains) could 
enhance safety. At the emergency RSAC meeting FRA expects to discuss 
the formulation of a task statement regarding appropriate train crew 
size for an RSAC working group to consider. FRA also requests that RSAC 
representatives be specifically prepared to discuss two other 
requirements contained in Emergency Order No. 28. First, FRA intends to 
discuss the appropriate types and quantities of hazardous materials 
that should preclude trains transporting such materials from being left 
unattended on main track and sidings. Emergency Order No. 28 currently 
specifies certain types and quantities of hazardous materials that 
trigger requirements regarding train attendance and securement 
procedures, but FRA would like to explore the issue further in 
conjunction with PHMSA. FRA also intends to discuss the various 
criteria and evaluation processes railroads have used, or intend to 
use, to formulate plans they may choose to adopt that identify 
locations where it is safe and suitable to leave trains unattended and 
secured on main track or sidings outside of yards or terminals.

DOT's Review of the Lac M[eacute]gantic Accident's Safety Implications

    Canadian authorities investigating this accident have not yet 
identified the accident's cause. However, the known facts at this point 
raise apparent safety-related implications in several areas in which 
DOT regulates in the United States. In developing this safety advisory 
and in preparing to participate in the emergency RSAC meeting, DOT has 
considered particular existing Federal railroad and hazardous materials 
safety regulations, existing industry practices, and relevant accident 
and inspection data. As mentioned above, FRA has already issued 
Emergency Order No. 28 to address securement-related safety issues. 
Another area of concern is resultant dangers that occur when trains 
transporting hazardous materials are involved in accidents, in addition 
to broader concerns involving the securement of unattended rolling 
equipment. Transport Canada's emergency directive and accompanying 
order also raised potential human factor issues regarding crew size for 
trains transporting hazardous materials.

Transportation of Hazardous Materials

    DOT is making two recommendations in this safety advisory that 
relate to the requirements in PHMSA's Hazardous Materials Regulations 
(49 CFR Parts 171-180; HMR). In addition to the two recommendations, 
the discussion below addresses the safety implications regarding the 
transportation of petroleum crude oil, and hazardous materials 
generally, by rail. As illustrated at Lac-M[eacute]gantic, it is often 
the hazardous materials being transported in a train that have the 
potential to cause the most harm.
    Nonetheless, the transportation of hazardous materials by rail is 
extremely safe, and the vast majority of hazardous materials shipped by 
rail each year arrive at their destinations safely and without 
incident. In calendar year 2011, for example, out of the approximately 
2.2 million shipments of hazardous materials transported by rail, there 
were only 20 accidents in which a hazardous

[[Page 48226]]

material was released. In these accidents, a total of 66 hazardous 
materials cars released some amount of product. DOT has developed and 
enforces a comprehensive regulatory framework for the safe rail 
transportation of hazardous materials. This comprehensive regulatory 
program serves to mitigate the safety risk associated with the rail 
transportation of hazardous materials. However, as this accident, and 
accidents such as the 2005 Graniteville, South Carolina incident in 
which a single breached railroad tank car containing chlorine resulted 
in nine fatalities indicate, both DOT and the rail industry must remain 
vigilant and continually seek to improve safety.
    The train involved in the Lac-M[eacute]gantic accident was a unit 
train of tank cars containing petroleum crude oil. Industry statistics 
demonstrate that, in terms of rail originations, crude oil shipments 
are the fastest growing of all hazardous materials shipped by rail. 
According to the Association of American Railroads' (AAR) Annual Report 
of Hazardous Materials Transported by Rail for 2012, the number of 
crude oil originations has increased by 443% since 2005. Further, since 
2005, rail shipments of ethanol have increased by a similar percentage. 
DOT anticipates that for the foreseeable future rail shipment 
originations of crude oil will remain high.\3\ Both ethanol and crude 
oil are classified as Class 3 flammable or combustible liquids by the 
HMR.
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    \3\ The U.S. Energy Information Administration anticipates that 
crude oil rail export capacity from the Bakken region, located 
mostly in North Dakota, will increase over the next two years. See 
http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=10431. Much of the 
near term growth in rail originations is currently a function of how 
quickly tank car manufacturers can produce new cars to meet the 
demand for tank cars, primarily for Bakken crude oil. The rise in 
rail originations in crude oil is subject to changes in the number 
of tank cars available, price of crude oil, and overall production 
of crude oil in that region, and is also dependent on whether, or 
how quickly, additional pipeline export capacity from that region 
comes online. However, for the foreseeable future, all indications 
are for continued growth of rail originations of crude in that 
region as new tank car fleets come online to meet demand. Bakken 
crude oil is primarily shipped via rail to refineries located near 
the U.S. Gulf Coast or also to pipeline connections, most notably to 
connections located in Oklahoma. Crude oil is also shipped via rail 
to refineries on the East Coast and, to a lesser extent, refineries 
in other regions of the U.S. See Association of American Railroads 
Moving Crude Oil by Rail (May 2013), https://www.aar.org/keyissues/Documents/Back ground-Papers/Crude-oil-by-rail.pdf.
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    The causes of rail accidents involving trains carrying hazardous 
materials are often related to railroad operational or mechanical 
failures. For example, as based on FRA's accident reporting data for 
the period from 2008 through 2012, railroad accident causes were 
allocated as follows: Human factors (35.7 percent); track and 
structures (34.5 percent); equipment (12.7 percent); signal and train 
control (2.4 percent); and miscellaneous (14.7 percent). DOT has taken 
a variety of actions to address these accident causes, including the 
promulgation of FRA's human factors regulation on operational tests and 
inspections involving handling equipment, switches, and fixed derails, 
passenger hours of service rules, regulations requiring the 
installation of positive train control systems on certain lines, 
regulations governing the use of distracting electronic devices by 
railroad operating employees, regulations governing conductor 
certification, the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking on the 
training of certain railroad employees, the issuance of a notice of 
proposed rulemaking regarding railroad track inspection practices, and 
the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking to require system 
safety programs on certain passenger railroads.
    As applicable to the rail transportation of hazardous materials, 
and particularly tank car crashworthiness in instances when accidents 
do occur, PHMSA has issued numerous regulations designed to improve the 
accident survivability of rail tank cars carrying hazardous materials. 
Most recently, in 2009, PHMSA issued a final rule requiring newly 
constructed tank cars designed to carry materials toxic-by-inhalation 
(TIH materials or materials poisonous-by-inhalation (PIH materials)) to 
have increased side and head-impact puncture resistance by requiring a 
combination of thicker outer jackets and/or inner shells and the use of 
full head shields where not already mandated by regulation.\4\ The rule 
also establishes enhanced standards and features to protect the valves, 
top fittings and nozzles of newly constructed TIH materials tank cars 
and imposes a 50 mile-per-hour (``mph'') speed limit for all trains 
transporting loaded tank cars containing TIH materials.
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    \4\ 74 FR 1770 (Jan. 13, 2009).
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    Further, PHMSA is currently formulating an advanced notice of 
proposed rulemaking addressing, among other items, safety improvements 
to DOT Specification 111 tank cars, which are commonly used to 
transport crude oil and ethanol. DOT has also scheduled a public 
meeting on August 27-28 to discuss improving the safety of the 
transportation of hazardous materials by rail. As the above discussion 
indicates, DOT has already taken steps to provide for the safety of 
transportation of hazardous materials by rail, and will continue to 
evaluate the need for additional safety measures as details of the Lac-
M[eacute]gantic accident become known.
    DOT's HMR-related recommendations below are in regard to the proper 
classification of crude oil and the HMR's requirements regarding 
railroad and hazardous materials offeror and carrier safety and 
security plans. First, the HMR require that an offeror \5\ of a 
hazardous material properly classify and describe the hazardous 
material. See 49 CFR Sec.  173.22. To attest compliance with the HMR, 
an offeror of a hazardous material must also certify that the hazardous 
material being offered into transportation is offered in compliance 
with the HMR. In the case of petroleum crude oil, relevant properties 
to properly classify the material include: Flash point, corrosivity, 
specific gravity at loading and reference temperatures, and the 
presence and concentration of specific compounds such as sulfur (as 
found in sour crude oil). The classification requirements in the HMR 
ultimately determine the appropriate and authorized selection of the 
packaging, the fill densities and outage, accompanying hazard 
communications (markings, labels and placards), transportation safety 
and operational controls, and safety and security planning; and, if 
necessary, they enable the most effective and informed emergency 
response.
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    \5\ See 49 CFR 171.8 for the definition of ``person who offers'' 
or ``offeror.''
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    Crude oil transported by rail often derives from different sources 
and is then blended, so it is critical that offerors properly classify 
a hazardous material and select the proper HMR-authorized packaging for 
transportation of that hazardous material. Section 173.150(f) of the 
HMR allows flammable liquids such as petroleum crude oil with a flash 
point at or above 38 [deg]C (100[emsp14][deg]F) that do not meet the 
definition of any other hazard class to be reclassified as a 
combustible liquid, and excepts such combustible liquids from certain 
HMR requirements, to include the requirement that the material be 
transported in a DOT-specification bulk packaging.\6\ As such, AAR 211 
class cars are permitted, in certain instances, to be used to transport 
crude oil that has been classified as a Packing Group III

[[Page 48227]]

material with a relatively high flash point. This distinction has 
safety implications if the crude oil being transported has been 
improperly classified and actually has a lower flash point and is a 
Packing Group I or II flammable liquid material. As such, DOT 
recommends that offerors evaluate their processes for testing, 
classifying, and packaging the crude oil that they offer into 
transportation via railroad tank car as required by Part 173 of the 
HMR. The frequency and type of testing should be based on an offeror's 
knowledge of the hazardous material, with specific consideration given 
to the volume of hazardous material shipped, the variety of sources 
that the hazardous material is generated from, and the processes that 
generate the hazardous material.
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    \6\ Section 172.102, Special Provision B1, states, ``If the 
material has a flash point at or above 38 [deg]C (100[emsp14][deg]F) 
and below 93 [deg]C (200[emsp14][deg]F), then the bulk packaging 
requirements of Sec.  173.241 of this subchapter are applicable.''
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    With regard to DOT's next HMR-related recommendation, the HMR also 
include requirements that specifically address safety and security 
plans for the transportation of certain hazardous materials. 
Specifically, Subpart I part 172 requires security plans to include an 
assessment of transportation security risks for shipments of hazardous 
materials (e.g., a large bulk quantity of Class 3 material such as 
crude oil meeting the criteria for Packing Group I or II). See 49 CFR 
172.800-802. This assessment at a minimum must include elements 
addressing personnel security, unauthorized access, and en route 
security. The plan must also include security duties for each position 
or department that is responsible for implementing the plan as well as 
the training of hazardous materials employees. DOT is recommending that 
offerors and carriers of hazardous materials review their plans adopted 
in accordance with subpart I of part 172 of the HMR that govern the 
safety and security of the transportation of railroad tank cars 
containing hazardous materials. DOT recommends that after such review 
offerors and carriers of hazardous materials evaluate whether their 
existing plans adequately address known or potential safety and 
security risks and, as necessary, amend the plans as to ensure the 
continued safe and secure transportation of railroad tank cars 
containing hazardous materials.

Securement of Unattended Equipment

    Next, with regard to the securement of unattended equipment, FRA 
accident data indicates that approximately 8.5% of human factor-caused 
accidents from calendar year 2011 until April 2013 were the result of 
improper securement. Existing Federal regulations, at 49 CFR part 232, 
require that railroads adopt procedures to ensure that unattended 
equipment is secured. FRA conducts inspections on a regular basis to 
monitor compliance with these applicable railroad securement procedures 
that railroads adopt in accordance with FRA's securement regulation. A 
review of FRA's inspection data indicates that since 2010, FRA 
inspectors have conducted 163,510 observations for compliance with 
railroad procedures adopted to comply with FRA's securement 
requirements for both passenger and freight trains at Sec.  232.103 and 
at 49 CFR part 238. FRA inspectors have discovered 5,236 instances 
where these railroad securement procedures were not complied with, and 
recommended violations in 1,625 of those instances. FRA's Emergency 
Order No. 28 was based, in part, on the above information, and requires 
railroads in the United States to adopt certain additional securement 
procedures to prevent accidents like the one that occurred at Lac-
M[eacute]gantic when trains make uncontrolled movements.
    In addition to those requirements conveyed in the emergency order, 
this safety advisory makes additional train securement-related 
recommendations. Existing Federal regulations, at 49 CFR part 217, 
require that railroads conduct operational tests to ensure their 
employees' compliance with railroad operating rules, and particularly 
those rules which are most likely to cause the most accidents or 
incidents. See 49 CFR 217.9(c)(1). As the above statistics indicate, a 
failure to comply with railroads' securement procedures account for 
approximately 8.5% of human factor caused accidents. When these 
accidents are viewed in light of the Lac-M[eacute]gantic accident, it 
is clear that compliance with Federal regulation and accompanying 
railroad procedures governing the securement of unattended equipment is 
safety-critical. Thus, DOT is recommending that railroads evaluate 
their current operational testing practices for securement-related 
rules compliance, and determine whether their current testing practices 
are sufficient, both in quality and quantity of the operational tests 
performed.
    In making this recommendation, FRA also notes that past audits of 
railroads' operational testing records indicate, that in certain 
instances, there are significant discrepancies between the number of 
operating rules compliance failures that railroads record when compared 
with the ratio of operating rule failures that FRA inspectors observe 
during compliance inspections. DOT encourages railroads to use the 
recommendations in this safety advisory to ensure that their 
operational testing practices, particularly as related to securement 
and all human factor-related operating rules, are evaluated for 
effectiveness. Operational testing should regularly take place under 
all operation conditions in which railroad employees perform duties. 
DOT encourages railroads to utilize all tools at their disposal, to 
include checking locomotive downloads to monitor compliance with 
railroad rules requiring certain actions be taken (e.g., air brake 
release) to verify that a sufficient number of handbrakes have been set 
to prevent a train's movement. FRA plans to place particular emphasis 
on its inspection efforts related to monitoring railroad compliance 
with securement procedures.
    Two additional recommendations below also relate to preventing the 
unauthorized movement of trains. The first of these recommendations 
relates to removing the reverse lever (reverser), when the lever is 
capable of being removed from the control stand by a train crewmember, 
from the controlling locomotive of any train left unattended on a main 
track outside of yard limits. Emergency Order No. 28 addresses 
requirements regarding the status of the reverser for trains 
transporting certain hazardous materials that are left unattended on 
mainline track or mainline sidings outside of a yard or terminal. The 
recommendation in this safety advisory is meant to address any train or 
locomotive consist left unattended on main track outside of yard or 
terminal, regardless of commodity being transported. Railroads are 
currently required by 49 CFR 232.103(n)(4) to adopt procedures to 
govern the status of the reverse lever (reverser) on unattended 
locomotives. Typically, the rules adopted by railroads to comply with 
Sec.  232.103(n)(4) require that the reverser of an unattended 
locomotive be removed from the control stand but do not require that 
the lever otherwise be removed from a train or secured. In an effort to 
ensure that any persons, primarily railroad trespassers, are unable to 
easily initiate unauthorized movements of any unattended trains outside 
of yard limits, DOT is recommending that railroads amend their 
procedures adopted to comply with Sec.  232.103(n)(4) to require that 
when the reverser is removed from the controlling locomotive of an 
unattended train that the lever is actually removed from the cab or 
otherwise secured in a place where a trespasser cannot readily access 
the lever. As the Lac-M[eacute]gantic accident illustrates, the 
uncontrolled movement of a train can have catastrophic consequences. 
DOT will also evaluate

[[Page 48228]]

whether future regulatory activities should require railroad procedures 
be amended to enhance requirements governing access to an unattended 
train's reverser lever. DOT looks forward to discussing this issue and 
receiving information from the industry regarding this issue at the 
emergency RSAC meeting.
    The Transport Canada emergency directive also contained a provision 
regarding the status of a train's automatic and independent brakes when 
a train is left unattended on a main track or siding for one hour or 
less. Existing Sec.  232.103(n)(4) of FRA's regulations requires that 
railroads adopt and comply with procedures governing the status of the 
independent and automatic brake valves (in addition to the status of 
the reverser lever as discussed directly above) when locomotives are 
left unattended. Traditionally, such rules adopted to comply with Sec.  
232.104(n)(4) in the United States already require that a train's 
independent and automatic brakes be applied when a train is left 
unattended for any period of time. Thus, DOT has chosen not to address 
that item in this safety advisory, but plans to discuss this topic 
along with all of the items addressed by the Transport Canada emergency 
directive and order at the emergency RSAC meeting.
    Next, DOT is also recommending that railroads evaluate risks at 
locations where trains are regularly left unattended on main track 
outside of yard limits, such as at crew change points. DOT recommends 
that after identifying locations where increased risks exist (for 
example, due to grade conditions or trespasser accessibility to 
unattended trains at particular locations) railroads adopt procedures 
to mitigate such risks that could result in unauthorized or 
uncontrolled train movements. DOT understands that many railroads that 
transport hazardous materials by rail may have already implemented 
certain portions of such an evaluation in complying with 49 CFR 
172.800-172.820 of the HMR, which as discussed above govern planning 
requirements for the transportation of hazardous materials. DOT also 
recognizes that railroads may undertake such evaluations if they choose 
to submit a plan to DOT regarding where trains containing certain 
hazardous materials may be left unattended, as described in Emergency 
Order No. 28. However, DOT recommends that such analysis/evaluation of 
how to mitigate risks be undertaken specifically for locations on main 
track where all trains are regularly left unattended outside of yard 
limits, as whether or not a train contains hazardous materials, an 
uncontrolled or unauthorized movement of such train can have 
catastrophic consequences, especially on main track where passenger 
trains might also travel.

Human Factors

    Finally, Transport Canada's emergency directive and order implicate 
other human factors issues such as crew size, personnel available to 
secure trains, operator fatigue, and the possible use of derails as a 
secondary line of defense against runaway trains at certain, higher 
risk, locations. DOT is making two recommendations below regarding 
these issues. First, DOT is making a recommendation regarding railroad 
crew staffing practices. Transport Canada's directive contained a 
specific requirement that railroads in Canada operate trains carrying 
loaded hazardous materials tank cars over main track and sidings with 
at least two crew members. DOT believes that railroad safety is 
enhanced through the use of multiple crew members and recommends below 
that railroads review their crew staffing practices for over-the-road 
train movements of trains transporting 20 or more tank car loads of 
Class 3 flammable or combustible liquids, as well as certain of the 
amount and type of hazardous materials specified in AAR's Circular No. 
OT-55-M, October 1, 2012 (Circular),\7\ and, as necessary, amend those 
practices to ensure safety. DOT intends to explore with the RSAC the 
appropriate level of crew staffing for over-the-road train operations. 
As mentioned above, at the emergency RSAC meeting FRA expects to ask 
the RSAC to consider the creation of a task statement regarding 
appropriate crew size for both freight and passenger operations for an 
RSAC working group to consider.
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    \7\ Available online at: http://boe.aar.com/CPC-1242_OT-55-M.pdf.
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    DOT is also recommending below that railroads evaluate all of the 
other human factors raised by Transport Canada with regard to train 
operations in the United States, particularly as related to train 
operations on main track, and amend those procedures as necessary. FRA 
plans to address this recommendation, and, as discussed above, also 
plans to address any other items at the emergency RSAC meeting that are 
raised in Transport Canada's emergency directive and order that are not 
otherwise addressed in Emergency Order No. 28 or this safety advisory.
    Recommended Railroad Actions: In light of the above discussion, and 
in an effort to maintain safety of the Nation's rail system, DOT 
recommends that railroads:
    1. Review with their employees the circumstances of the Lac-
M[eacute]gantic accident described in this Safety Advisory.
    2. DOT believes that railroad safety is enhanced through the use of 
multiple crew members. Accordingly, railroads should review their crew 
staffing practices for over-the-road trains that transport:

    (a) Five or more tank car loads of any one or any combination of 
materials poisonous by inhalation as defined in 49 CFR 171.8, and 
including anhydrous ammonia (UN 1005) and ammonia solutions (UN 
3318); or
    (b) 20 rail car loads or intermodal portable tank loads of any 
one or any combination of materials listed in (a) above, or, any 
Division 2.1 flammable gas, Class 3 flammable liquid or combustible 
liquid, Class 1.1 or 1.2 explosive, or hazardous substance listed in 
49 CFR 173.31(f)(2).\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ See 49 CFR 173.115 for the definition of Division 2.1 
flammable gas, 173.120 for definition of Class 3 flammable liquid; 
and 173.50 for the definition of the various classes of explosives.

    After such review, DOT recommends that railroads amend existing 
practices as necessary to ensure the safe movement of trains containing 
the above-listed hazardous materials on main track and sidings. DOT 
intends to explore with the RSAC the appropriate level of crew staffing 
for over-the-road train operations.
    3. Amend their procedures adopted to comply with 49 CFR 
232.103(n)(4) by requiring that the reverser lever of the controlling 
locomotive of a train or locomotive consist be either removed from the 
cab of the controlling locomotive or otherwise secured (when such 
reversers are capable of being removed by a train crewmember) to 
prevent unauthorized movement of any train or locomotive consist left 
unattended on mainline track or mainline siding outside of a yard or 
terminal.
    4. Review both their operational testing programs (as adopted in 
accordance with 49 CFR 217.9) and relevant accident data related to the 
securement of unattended equipment to determine whether it is 
appropriate to increase the frequency of, or to otherwise enhance, 
operational tests performed to determine the extent of railroad 
employee compliance with operating rules governing the proper 
securement of unattended equipment. DOT also recommends that railroads 
ensure that their operational tests are conducted under all operational 
conditions, and that the results of such operational tests are 
accurately reflected

[[Page 48229]]

in the records required to be kept by 49 CFR 217.9(d).
    5. Conduct system-wide evaluations to identify particular hazards 
(e.g., grade, train commodity, trespasser accessibility) which increase 
securement and other safety risks at crew change locations and other 
locations where any trains or rolling equipment are regularly left 
unattended. After identifying hazards at these locations, railroads 
should adopt procedures to mitigate risks that could result in 
unauthorized or uncontrolled train movements.
    6. Review the other requirements in Transport Canada's emergency 
directive and order, to include human factor requirements such as 
operator fatigue, the use of derails as a secondary line of defense at 
high risk locations, and available personnel to secure a train, and, as 
necessary, amend the procedures governing these issues to ensure the 
safety of train operations, particularly as they relate to train 
operations conducted on main track.
    Recommended Hazardous Materials Actions: In light of the above 
discussion, and in an effort to maintain safety of the Nation's rail 
system, DOT recommends that:
    1. Offerors evaluate their processes to ensure that hazardous 
materials are properly classed and described in accordance with the 
HMR.
    2. Offerors and carriers of hazardous materials review their safety 
and security plans adopted in accordance with subpart I of part 172 of 
the HMR. Offerors and carriers evaluate whether the existing plans 
adequately address personnel security, unauthorized access, and en-
route security and, as necessary, amend the plans as to ensure the 
continued safe and secure transportation of railroad tank cars 
containing hazardous materials.
    DOT encourages railroad and hazardous material industry members to 
take actions that are consistent with the preceding recommendations, 
and to take other complementary actions to help ensure the safety of 
the Nation's railroads. DOT may modify this safety advisory, issue 
additional safety advisories, or take other appropriate actions 
necessary to ensure the highest level of safety on the Nation's 
railroads, including pursuing other corrective measures under its rail 
and hazardous materials safety authority.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on August 2, 2013.
Robert Lauby,
Acting Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief Safety 
Officer, Federal Railroad Administration.
Magdy El-Sibaie,
Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
[FR Doc. 2013-19211 Filed 8-6-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P