Safety Recommendation Report: Placement of DOT-111 Tank Cars in High Hazard Flammable Trains and the Use of Buffer Cars for the Protection of Train Crews

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating two separate derailments of high hazard flammable trains (HHFT) in Draffin, Kentucky, and Fort Worth, Texas, which resulted in breached tank cars and hazardous material fires. The NTSB found that in both derailments, least-protective US Department of Transportation (DOT)-111 tank cars were placed in positions that increased the risk of derailment and breaching of the tank cars, resulting in release of their hazardous materials contents. Additionally, in Draffin, Kentucky, the lead locomotives were separated from the hazardous materials tank cars by only one buffer car, which shortened the distance between the breached tank cars and the crewmembers, increasing the risk of injury or death. The NTSB is issuing one recommendation to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA); reiterating one recommendation to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA); and reiterating two recommendations to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The new recommendation to AAR, ASLRRA, and RFA is to develop and adopt guidelines and recommended practices for the systematic placement of the most vulnerable tank cars in high hazard flammable trains, such as unmodified US Department of Transportation-111 tank cars, in positions of trains where they are least likely to derail or to sustain mechanical damage from the effects of trailing tonnage or collision in an accident.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 16p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01764757
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NTSB/RSR-20/01
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 1 2021 12:51PM