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Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation

4/30/2015



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

NTSB: Operator fatigue caused CTA-O'Hare incident; investigating freight-train collision


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that operator fatigue caused a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) accident at the O'Hare International Airport station in March 2014, the federal agency reported Tuesday.

The accident occurred when a CTA train collided with the bumping post at the end of the track at the airport. The train's lead car rode over the bumping post and hit an escalator at the end of the track. The incident injured 33 passengers and caused more than $11 million in damage, NTSB officials said in a press release.

The train's operator, who had worked 12 consecutive days, had fallen asleep before the train entered the O'Hare station. She woke up when the train hit a track trip safety feature a few seconds before the train hit the bumping post.

The NTSB determined that the CTA did not effectively manage the operator's work schedule to mitigate the risk of failure, NTSB officials said.

"Managing operator fatigue is obviously crucial," said NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart. "Transit agencies need to reduce the risk of fatigue in their scheduling practices, which CTA did not adequately do; and transit operators need to report to work rested, which this transit operator did not do."

Before the accident, CTA did not require fatigue awareness training for administrative managers whose responsibilities included scheduling regular and extra board employees. Additionally, there were no limits to the number of double shifts an operator could work, although operators were required to take off at least eight hours after working a double shift.

The investigation also revealed a variety of design flaws in the station's safety features.

Since the incident, the CTA changed its work/rest policy. The NTSB also has recommended that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) develop a work scheduling program for transit-rail agencies that reduces the risk of fatigue, and establish hours of service regulations for mass transit operators.

Meanwhile, the NTSB has begun an investigation into a head-on collision between two Southwestern Railroad freight trains near Roswell, N.M. The incident occurred yesterday morning when a moving Southwestern train on the main track entered the siding track where a Southwestern train was standing. The trains collided, and several cars derailed. One of the two crew members on the moving train was killed, said NTSB Member Earl Weener in a press briefing posted on Youtube.com.

 



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