BNSF takes steps to cut oil train risks

Times Union | March 31, 2015 | Report by Eric Anderson

BNSF, in a letter to customers, said Monday it would slow oil trains to no more than 35 mph through communities of more than 100,000 population, phase out not only the DOT-111 tank cars but the newer CPC-1232 tank cars that haven’t undergone safety modifications, step up trackside monitoring of locomotives and cars to detect any defects and remove defective  cars from service, and work with communities on concerns about grade crossings.

Progressive Railroading reported the developments in its online newsletter this morning. The BNSF letter is here.

BNSF trains bound from North Dakota to Albany are typically handed off to CSX in the Midwest; some have also been transferred to Pan Am Southern, whose tracks travel through the Capital Region and provide a direct rail link to the Irving Oil Co. refinery in St. John, New Brunswick.

That refinery is the destination of some of the oil passing through the Port of Albany, and it was the destination of the oil train that derailed in July 2013 in Lac Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.

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commented 2015-04-01 08:18:53 -0400 · Flag
There are too many safety issues with oil-by-rail: weak tank cars, poorly maintained tracks, fatigued engineers, and the volatility of the cargo. Speed is the least of it. Can we fix them all? Apparently we can’t fix any of them fast enough to avoid a derailment per week. What community will be incinerated next?
commented 2015-03-31 22:24:35 -0400 · Flag
What does phase out mean? How many years? What kind of rail car will they replace the 111’s and 1232’s with when a senior RR official stated you can’t design crude oil rail car strong enough to withstand puncture at 30 – 40 mph. Does BNSF know the Lynchburg train was going 24 mph and West VA derailed at 33mph? Both trains fall under the new BNSF standard of 35 mph. Answer – stop the oil trains and switch to renewables.
@PAUSEnergy tweeted this page. 2015-03-31 22:03:19 -0400
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy posted about BNSF takes steps to cut oil train risks on PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy's Facebook page 2015-03-31 22:03:19 -0400
BNSF takes steps to cut oil train risks
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.