Selected Federal Government Resources on Rail Collisions

Federal Railroad Administration, Collision Analysis Working Group
FRA’s Collision Analysis Working Group reviewed main track train collisions where human factor causes contributed to trains exceeding their authority.  The Group selected 65 collision cases it believes contain enough information to find meaningful commonalities upon which to base collision-avoiding findings and recommendations.  The selection process and the full report are contained here.

Federal Transit Administration

Rail Modernization Study: Report to Congress, April 2009
The main objective of this Rail Modernization Study to assess the level of capital investment required to attain and maintain a state of good repair(SGR) for the nations seven largest rail transit operators. The study also considers these reinvestment needs within the context of past levels of Federal funding support as well as potential changes to the current Federal Program.


Federal Transit Administration

Transit State of Good Repair – Beginning the Dialogue, October 2008
In the summer of 2008, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) brought together representatives from 14 public transportation providers and State Departments of Transportation to discuss the state of repair of our Nation’s transit inventory. Discussion topics included transit recapitalization and maintenance issues, asset management practices, and innovative financing strategies. Issues explored related to measuring the condition of transit capital assets, prioritizing local transit re-investment decisions, and preventive maintenance practices. Other topics addressed included research needs and potential tools for helping agencies cope with this growing problem.

Subsequently, FTA met with equipment manufacturers, construction and engineering firms, and private equity firms to explore potential public-private partnership opportunities within public transportation—including the potential for private-sector involvement in long-term capital asset management, to help ensure that legacy assets are maintained or replaced as needed.

National Transportation Safety Board, Railroad Accident Reports:
Selected reports from 1971-present, in full text 1996-present

National Transportation Safety Board

Collision Between Two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Trains at the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Station in Washington, D.C. November 3, 2004
Full text of NTSB Report on November 3, 2004 Washington, DC Metro collision.

National Transportation Safety Board

Public Hearing, March 3-4, 2009, Collision of Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) Passenger Train No. 111 and Union Pacific Railroad Freight Train No. LOF65-12, Chatsworth, California.  September 12, 2008
Extensive documentation and complete video of NTSB’s two day public hearing on the collision near Los Angeles, CA.

National Transportation Systems Center

Rail Equipment Crashworthiness Research
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has been working with the Volpe National Transportation System Center (Volpe Center) to conduct research into rail equipment crashworthiness. The approach in conducting this research has been to propose strategies for improved crashworthiness and to apply analytic tools and testing techniques for evaluating the effectiveness of those strategies.  The principal activities of the research include technical studies, the documentation and dissemination of the results of these studies, and the application of the study results to standards development.

National Transportation Systems Center

Rail Equipment Crashworthiness Publications and Papers
Current, archival, and full text technical research papers on rail equipment crashworthiness.  Many papers are accompanied by test video.  Sample titles include "Detailed Modeling of the Train-to-Train Impact Test: Rail Passenger Equipment Impact Tests” and "The Influence of Manufacturing Variations on a Crash Energy Management System".

Another excellent bibliography has been created by the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  It can be accessed at:

This document was prepared by the National Transportation Library on June 23, 2009.  Please contact us at or 202-366-0746 with any questions or comments.  Thank you.

Updated 11:25 AM EDT, June 24, 2013

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