Critics Scoff at New Oil Train Speed Limits

By Edward McAllister | May 5, 2015

  • May 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm
    Paul Wulterkens says:
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    The new rules, issued by the Depart of Transportation (DOT). set requirements for transporting flammable liquids in a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars or 35 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid that are dispersed throughout a longer train (such trains are known as High-Hazard Flammable Trains (“HHFTs”)).
    The new rules on HHFTs are specific, whereas the old rules were ambiguous. This may lead automatically to stricter enforcement.
    Tank cars are required to be retrofitted, in three to five years, depending on the type of car, to have thicker walls, improved thermal protection systems and accident-resistant outlet handles.
    Railroads operating HHFTs must run at lower speeds, must have enhanced breaking systems. must perform a routing analysis that considers a variety of safety and security factors and must provide state, local and tribal officials with a point of contact for HHFT routing information.
    Shippers must sample and test unrefined petroleum-based products to make sure they are assigned the proper hazardous materials designation. Sampling must be made before offering the material for transportation and after any changes (e.g., blending) that may affect the properties of the material.
    The Federal Railroad Administration enforces those rules that apply to railroads. The FRA has tended to give the railroads maximum leeway but, for HHFTs in populous areas, they need to become stricter. They will get plenty of pressure to ease up by railroad lobbyists. For safety’s sake they need counter pressure from the citizenry.

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