Posts Tagged ‘hazardous materials’

Emergency Response Plan Issued for Short Lines

March 16, 2021

A transportation emergency response has been created for short line railroads by the Short Line Safety Institute.

Known as TERP, the document provides guidance for moving hazardous materials, including instruction on how to help prepare workers to safely respond to an incident and work with local first responders in advance of an emergency.

The SLSI said the document has detailed high-resolution maps identifying physical features of a railroad’s yard or yards and location of key assets for incident response and emergency access routes within that facility.

A “red tab” section provides contact information for key railroad personnel and sensitive receptors located within a one-mile radius of a rail yard. 

NTSB Issues Tank Car Placement Recommendation

December 17, 2020

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a recommendation that trains carrying DOT-111 rail tank cars with high hazard flammable commodities be accompanied by a minimum of five non-placarded cars between any locomotive or occupied equipment transporting hazardous materials, regardless of train length and consist

The recommendation stemmed from the Board’s investigation of derailments of high-hazard flammable trains in Kentucky and Texas.

The Kentucky derailment occurred Feb. 13 in Draffin, Kentucky, when a CSX ethanol unit train derailed three locomotives, one buffer car and four tank cars on a mountainside.

That train had one buffer car at the head of the consist and one at the end of the train, with 96 denatured ethanol tank cars following the head buffer car.

The NTSB found that least protective DOT-111 tank cars were placed in positions that increased the risk of derailment and breaking of the tank cars, resulting in the release of their hazardous materials content.

It also found that during the Draffin derailment the lead locomotives were separated from the hazardous materials tank cars by only one buffer car, which shortened the distance between the breached tank cars and the crew members, increasing the risk of injury or death.

Both derailments, the NTSB said, could have been less severe had the DOT-111 tank cars been placed in locations within the train where they were less likely to derail or to sustain accident damage.

This week’s NTSB report is the first time the safety agency has issued recommendations regarding the use of buffer cars to reduce the risks of hazardous materials to train crews.

AAO Protests NS Ft. Wayne Line Changes

April 17, 2020

All Aboard Ohio is trying to drum up public opposition to the plans of Norfolk Southern to remove some of the double track on its Fort Wayne Line in Ohio.

The rail passenger agency is protesting NS’s recent move to route tank car trains off the Fort Wayne Line and onto lines that pass through more populous areas, including Cleveland and Toledo.

NS rerouted the trains carrying crude oil and ethanol on April 7.

A month earlier it filed papers with the Federal Railroad Administration seeking approval to remove 33 miles of double track in three segments between Crestline and Alliance.

AAO said the tank car trains not only operate through more populous areas, but mix with and operate next to Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited, as well as Cleveland Regional Transit Authority trains.

In a statement published on its website, AAO cited instances in which trains carrying hazardous materials have derailed, caught fire and exploded, and resulted in the evacuation of hundreds from their homes.

The statement also suggested that such incidents could endanger waterways and drinking water sources, including Lake Erie.

AAO said the City of Cleveland and other local governments are considering resolutions that would urge that all hazardous materials shipments by whatever mode of transportation not originating or terminating in their communities be moved to less populous routings wherever and whenever physically possible.

The advocacy group described the Fort Wayne Line as the only route NS has that bypasses Greater Cleveland and northern Ohio.

It also said the Fort Wayne Line is NS’s only reliever route between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

“Resolutions and letters of opposition to NS’s actions and proposed actions should be forwarded to Norfolk Southern Corp. (c/o Marque Ledoux, vice president, government relations), the Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Surface Transportation Board, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Ohio Rail Development Commission, appropriate members of Congress, as well as Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, plus all appropriate members of the Ohio General Assembly,” AAO said.

NS Honors 52 Chemical Shippers

April 20, 2018

Norfolk Southern recognized 52 chemical shippers with its 2017 Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award for safely handling rail-shipped products.

The shippers who received the award collectively shipped 153,213 carloads of chemical products regulated as hazardous material on NS rail lines without incident.

In a news release, NS said it began the awards in 1995 to recognize chemical manufacturers and plants that ship 1,000 carloads or more of hazardous products without a single incident.

Forty-five corporations and seven plants attained the benchmark for 2017. Six of these customers shipped more than 5,000 carloads each.

In 2017, hazardous materials shipped by customers on NS lines included industrial chemicals used to manufacture consumer goods, crude petroleum, ethanol and fertilizers.

NS usually moves these products in tank cars owned or leased by customers, who are responsible for maintaining the cars and ensuring that valves and caps and other components are in good working condition and properly secured for transit.

NS Manager Receives AAR Safety Award

October 21, 2017

A Norfolk Southern executive was the 2017 recipient of the Holden-Proefrock Award given by the Association of American Railroads.

Paul Williams was recognized for his 34 years of seeking to ensure the safe transport of hazardous materials by rail.

As NS Southeast regional manager of hazardous materials, Williams oversees emergency response, regulatory support, and managing derailments.

The Holden-Proefrock Award is named in honor of Roy Holden, a former AAR employee and innovator in tank car design and safety, and Art Proefrock, a former Hulcher Emergency Services employee who pioneered hazardous materials transportation emergency response.

The AAR also presented its 2016 NAR Grand Slam Awards on 21 companies that were recognized for being “exemplary” shippers of hazardous materials. An award winner must have been recognized by at least four Class I railroads and have had zero non accident releases involving their shipments during the previous calendar year.

CSX Grants Pa. Agency Access to Train Data

March 20, 2014

CSX has agreed to allow officials from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to access the railroad’s computer network that tracks rail movements.

Agency officials sought the access to keep track of movements of hazardous materials in the state.

Select staff will be trained by CSX personnel on how to operate the system.

The agency said that the agreement, along with such as the Hazardous Material Emergency Preparedness Grant Program and grant funding for specialized firefighting training, helps local communities increase their level of emergency preparedness.

Some Willard Residents Return to Their Homes

November 29, 2013

Some Willard residents are still displaced, but most of those forced from their homes after a CSX tank car leaked a hazardous substance were able to return home Thursday afternoon.

The residents of about 400 houses were vacated early Wednesday morning after a derailment resulted in the spilling of 13,000 gallons of styrene monomer, a flammable chemical used to make plastic.

Most residents returned home around 3 p.m. on Thursday after air testing showed it was safe. However, the 10 percent of residences closest to the spill site remained away from their homes as the cleanup efforts continued late Thursday.

Willard city manager Brian Humphress said officials hope that those still displaced could return no later than Saturday.

Those forced from their homes were treated to a thanksgiving meal in the in the Willard High School cafeteria. Ohio Gov. John Kasich came to the dinner to mingle with the residents of the southern Huron County city.

The menu included ham with pineapple slices, stuffing, corn, potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, and desserts.

Paper turkeys decorated the tables and a television set was tuned to an NFL football game featuring the Detroit Lions hosting the Green Bay Packers.

About 250 Willard residents attended the meal.

Rusty Orben, CSX director of public affairs, said air-quality testing continues and that the railroad is will investigate the accident’s cause after the cleanup is completed in a few days.

Four tank cars that derailed late Tuesday night were back on the tracks Thursday morning, which allowed workers to begin digging out ballast and soil beneath the tracks that was soaked with the spilled styrene. Two of the derailed cars also contained flammable chemicals.

The accident brought train traffic on CSX’s busy main line across Ohio to a halt, with some trains diverted to other routes.

Gary Ousley, Huron County’s chief dog warden, said his office is housing 20 to 25 dogs at the dog warden’s office and the Huron County Humane Society until their owners can retrieve them.

He said all the animals the agency had assisted seem to be in good condition.

Willard Residents Evacuated After Tank Car Leak

November 27, 2013

A hazardous chemical spill on CSX in Willard late Tuesday night forced the evacuation of 400 households in that north central Ohio city.

Willard Police Chief Mark Holden told the Toledo Blade that the displaced residents may be able to return to their homes late Wednesday or they may be kept away until sometime Thursday. 

Police began evacuating the residents between midnight and 3 a.m. after a tank car spilled about 26,000 gallons of styrene monomer, a flammable substance.

CSX Spokesman Gary Sease said the spill occurred because four rail cars derailed during a switching maneuver.

No CSX employees or residents were injured. Sease said CSX officials built earthen dams to stop the product from spreading beyond CSX property.

Those evacuated lived in a half-mile radius of the spill in an area bounded by Tiffin, Dogtown, Second, and Myrtle streets.

Most evacuees were taken to Willard High School with others being lodges at motels as far away as Tiffin and Sandusky. CSX is paying for the lodging.

Police officers, firefighters and state highway patrol troopers went door-to-door after an initial telephone alert.

The rail car leak was discovered shortly before midnight near where the CSX tracks cross West Main Street.

Representatives of the U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA were on the scene along as cleanup crews hired by CSX. Cleanup started about 4:30 a.m. with crews vacuuming the liquid into a tanker.

News reports indicated that the cleanup process was going slower than hoped because the substance vaporizes quickly and is highly flammable.