Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DOT announces new rules for oil carrying railcars

A year past the deadly Quebec derailment, the Department of Transportation has come up with new rules covering the rail transport of crude oil.
The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a two-year phase-out of older tank cars used to transport crude oil by rail, among other measures to improve the safety of crude oil transportation by rail.

Secretary Anthony Foxx outlined the long-anticpated proposals Wednesday, more than a year after a deadly derailment in Quebec focused government and public scrutiny on the rising volumes of crude oil shipped in trains.

DOT will seek the phase-out or retrofit of older model DOT-111 tank cars, long known to be vulnerable to failure in derailments, from crude oil and ethanol service.

“We are proposing to phase out the DOT-111 tank car in its current form,” Foxx said.

The department proposed various options for upgraded tank cars, including thicker steel shells, electronic braking and rollover protections.

The department also proposed a maximum 40 mph speed in all areas for trains operating with older tank cars and for urban areas with more than 100,000 residents. Tank cars that met the new requirements would be permitted to travel at 50 mph outside urban areas.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rules, and Foxx said the comment period would not be extended because of the urgency of the issue.
There will be pushback and some modification before the new rules are implemented, but the rail industry is itself in favor of improved tanker safety and should implement most of them. And three years from the deaths to new standards is almost drag strip fast for a government agency.


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