Rail Transportation

FRA issues safety recommendations on train speed limits

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Washington – Using preliminary information from a Dec. 1 fatal speeding-related derailment in New York, the Federal Railroad Administration on Dec. 11 issued a safety advisory to the railroad industry on obeying maximum speed limits.

According to the advisory, Metro-North passenger train 8808 was traveling through the Bronx in New York City at 82 mph on a sharp curve that had a speed limit of 30 mph, when the train derailed. As of press time, the incident had resulted in four fatalities and more than 60 reported injuries.

To prevent future speeding-related incidents, FRA recommends railroads take the following actions:

  • Review the Metro-North incident with operating employees.
  • Convey to employees during safety training and briefings the importance of maintaining a speed within the maximum authorized limit and within other speed restrictions.
  • Analyze operational testing data on compliance with speed limits, increasing testing for rails that contain safety-sensitive segments such as curves with significant speed restrictions.
  • Reiterate importance of regular communication among train crewmembers in the controlling locomotive, especially during safety-critical periods that require attention on multiple tasks and during extended periods of time when little is occurring.