NTSB issues safety recommendation to Class I’s, short lines

Published: September 25, 2019

As the National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate an accident in Wyoming that killed two SMART TD members out of Local 446, it issued a pair of safety recommendations to Class I railroads and a recommendation to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association regarding train emergency brake communication.

Benjamin George “Benji” Brozovich, 39, and Jason V. Martinez, 40, both members of the Cheyenne, Wyo., local, died in the Oct. 4, 2018, accident. The NTSB recommendations follow.

To the Class I Railroads:

Review and issue guidance as necessary for the inspection of end-of-railcar air hose configurations to ensure the air hose configuration matches the intended design. (R-19-41)

Review and revise your air brake and train handling instructions for grade operations and two-way end-of-train device instructions to include: monitoring locomotive air flow meters, checking the status of communication between the head-of-train and end-of train devices before cresting a grade, and the actions to take if the air pressure at the rear of the train does not respond to an air brake application. (R-19-42)

To the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association:

Alert your member carriers to (1) inspect the end-of-railcar air hose configurations to ensure the hose configurations match the intended design and (2) review and revise their air brake and train handling instructions for grade operations and two-way end-of-train device instructions to include: monitoring locomotive air flow meters, checking the status of communication between the head-of-train and end-of-train devices before cresting a grade, and the actions to take if the air pressure from the rear of the train does not respond to an air brake application. (R-19-43)

The NTSB investigation into the accident is ongoing. It issued a preliminary report on the accident last November.

Read the safety recommendations on the NTSB website.