Safety Advisory for Verification of Rail Vehicle Safe Stopping Distances in Terminal Stations


[PDF version of signed letter]

Dear Colleague:

I write to address an urgent safety concern stemming from the ongoing investigation into a collision and derailment that occurred on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line on Monday, March 24, 2014. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is issuing Safety Advisory 14-2, Verification of Safe Rail Vehicle Stopping Distances at Terminal Stations (PDF).

In this advisory, FTA urges the nationís rail transit systems to:

Over time, changes made to authorized train speeds, the design or layout of the terminal station, or the placement of signals and trip stops can affect the minimum safe stopping distance required for trains in emergency braking. Speed restrictions, re-configuring automatic signals and trip stops, modifying the placement and performance of bumping posts and installations, and recalculating safe braking rates are all steps that rail transit agencies can take to address this critical safety concern.

The FTA is directing State Safety Oversight (SSO) agencies to confirm the rail transit agenciesí actions to verify rail vehicle safe stopping distances in terminal stations in accordance with this safety advisory, and approve corrective actions to be implemented by the rail transit agency by 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Additionally, FTA is directing SSO agencies to provide a summary of actions taken by each rail transit agency in the next Annual SSO Program Report.

I will keep you updated as to any formal recommendations that the National Transportation Safety Board may issue to FTA on this subject.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this advisory and your continued commitment to safety. If you or your staff has questions regarding this safety advisory, please contact Thomas Littleton, Associate Administrator for Transit Safety and Oversight at 202-366-1783, or you can contact me directly at 202-366-4040.

Yours truly,

Therese W. McMillan