Transportation Safety Board Seeks Stiffer Standards for Oil Tank Rail Cars

New York Times | April 6, 2015 | Column by Jad Mouawad

The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that new oil tank train cars should come with much stronger ability to withstand high heat and pressure from a crash or a blast.

Several oil trains derailed this year, causing large explosions and oil spills and underscoring the “significant vulnerability” to fires of the latest generation of crude oil tank cars, the safety board said.

Traditional tank cars used for crude oil transportation, called DOT-111 cars, have long been known to rupture in crashes. A newer car, CPC-1232, adopted by the rail industry in recent years, has also broken up and exploded in the crashes this year.

New federal measures intended to make the growing oil-by-train business safer are not expected to take effect until 2017, and are still being debated in the administration. These rules are expected to add protections to the CPC-1232 cars.

But the safety board said the new measures needed to be significantly strengthened and to include more robust thermal protections, like a ceramic thermal blanket on the cars. The board also called for increased capacity of pressure relief valves.

“We can’t wait a decade for safer rail cars,” said Christopher A. Hart, chairman of the safety board. “The industry needs to make this issue a priority and expedite the safety enhancements, otherwise, we continue to put our communities at risk.”

The safety board said that in the four oil train derailments this year, a total of 28 CPC-1232 tank cars failed, either because the train derailed or because a fire or excessive pressurization caused by high heat made the cars rupture.

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commented 2016-03-14 11:08:14 -0400 · Flag
I agree with Sandra, many of the Big UK companies, such as the one i work for (DVLA: have started going more green with the way we consume energy. We have a ride to work scheme to encourage people to ride bikes to work.
commented 2015-04-10 02:19:23 -0400 · Flag
Too little, too late. No reason to ship crude by rail (CBR) at all when the total CBR amounts to only 5% of our US oil consumption. Leave it in the ground, switch to renewables and save the planet for our children.
@PAUSEnergy tweeted this page. 2015-04-09 15:12:24 -0400
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy posted about Transportation Safety Board Seeks Stiffer Standards for Oil Tank Rail Cars on PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy's Facebook page 2015-04-09 15:12:24 -0400
Transportation Safety Board Seeks Stiffer Standards for Oil Tank Rail Cars
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.