BLE gathering data on unsafe windows

As part of its continuing effort to improve the safety of its members, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers is currently working to raise the protective standards of glass in locomotive cabs.

The current standard can be found in Part 223 Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations; however, it has not been updated in years and needs to be substantially improved for the safety of train crews. It is especially relevant in passenger service today, considering the increased speeds of trains such as Amtrak's Acela Express, which can reach speeds of 150 mph.

Therefore, the BLE is asking its members to provide information regarding incidents they have had with broken windows in locomotive cabs, which will be used to show the Federal Railroad Administration that a stricter glass standard is necessary.

The BLE is seeking to establish a database of incidents where some sort of projectile has penetrated or caused spall in a window of a locomotive cab (freight or passenger), cab car, or passenger coach. An injury does not have to be associated with the incident.

Spall is a major problem associated with windows in locomotive cabs. Spall is when a window (glazing) is hit on one side by an object, and the glass on the other side splinters into tiny pieces. The resulting splinters of glass can penetrate the eyes and skin of railroad employees.

With this in mind, current BLE members who have encountered spall or other forms of broken glass while performing their daily work duties are asked to document the unsafe condition by using the form below.

In addition, since the glass standard has been on the books for so many years, the BLE asks that retired members fill out the form as well.

Completed forms and additional documentation should be mailed to the BLE's National Legislative Office at the address provided below. The following form is also available as a PDF at:


BLE Division:



Date and Railroad on which incident occurred:


Passenger or Freight:

Was lead unit involved:

Identifying number(s) of the locomotive/cab car/ coach with broken window:


Location of broken window, locomotive/cab car/ coach cars (front, engineer's side, conductor's side):


Cause of breakage (rock, bottle, bullet, animal, other), if other, please explain):



Did object penetrate window:

Was there spall associated with the incident (spall describes chips and slivers of glass that come off the opposite from which a piece of glass is struck by a projectile):



How severe (explain):



Was the injured person a member of the crew or a passenger:

Was the incident reported:

To whom:

Additional comments can be submitted on separate sheets of paper along with this report. Include photographs, if available. Return this report, along with all corresponding documentation to:

Mr. Leroy D. Jones
BLE Vice-President & National Legislative Representative
10 G St N.E., Suite 480
Washington, DC 20002

2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers