News & Publications

Rail Law Alert No. 17

FTA Issues Safety Advisory Regarding Safe Stopping Distances in Rail Agency Terminal Stations

On June 12, 2014, the Federal Transit Administration released Safety Advisory 14-2, Verification of Rail Vehicle Safe Stopping Distances in Terminal Stations (Safety Advisory), in response to findings from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding a March 24 Chicago Transit Authority collision and derailment. The Safety Advisory covers rail transit operations not regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration. The Safety Advisory urges rail transit agencies to immediately verify that designed safe breaking distances at terminal stations are adequate for actual operating conditions. In the event that a rail transit agency determines an available rail stopping distance is inadequate, NTSB recommends the agency immediately initiate its safety hazards management process to evaluate and resolve the safety deficiency. Additionally, the Safety Advisory directs State Safety Oversight (SSO) agencies to confirm rail transit agencies’ actions and approve corrective action plans by August 12, 2014. SSOs must also provide a summary of actions taken by each agency in their next Annual SSO Program Report.