Posts Tagged ‘liquefied natural gas’

DOT 113 Tank Car Now in Safety Train Fleet

January 21, 2021

A DOT 113 cryogenic tank car has been added to the fleet of the Safety Train program of the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation.

This type of tank car has been approved for the movement of liquefied natural gas.

The car was made available through the Federal Railroad Administration, which donated the car.

The FRA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration provide assistance to the Safety Train, which trains emergency responders.

A DOT 113 car can transport liquids at temperatures of minus-155 degrees to minus-423 degrees.

It has double walls and has been compared to a Thermos bottle with its insulation materials and vacuum in the space between the tanks.

The piping between the two tanks is unlike that in any other tank car and must accommodate the low-temperature cryogenic liquid inside and the ambient temperatures outside.

Workers have modified the car assigned to the Safety Train so that it has a saddle box containing a pull-out tray with a 2-foot-by-3-foot cross section of a DOT 113 car, including the special insulation for the cryogenic liquids.

The Foundation owns and operates three Safety Trains, which include the Dow Safety Train and two others that are used in a partnership with the Short Line Safety Institute.

Each Safety Train has a classroom car, three different types of tank cars, and a flat car that carries examples of the protective housings and valves from all  tank used today.

The DOT 113 car will be part of a Safety Train that will travel rail routes expected to host the transport of LNG.

Proposed LNG by Rail Rule Draws Range of Comments

January 17, 2020

Opinions are flowing in rapidly on a proposal by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to allow trains to transport liquefied natural gas in DOT-113C120W specification rail tank cars.

Opposed are the National Transportation Safety Board, attorneys general of 16 states and at least two U.S. senators.

In favor are railroad trade groups Association of American Railroads, and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

The rule change is also being pushed by the Trump administration.

To opponents it is a matter of public safety. The proponents of the rule also cite safety but contend that transporting LNG by rail is safer because of the industry’s “strong safety record” on a ton-mile basis.

Under existing standards, LNG can only be transported by rail with a PHMSA special permit or in a portable tank with Federal Railroad Administration approval.

The dispute began last April when President Trump issued an executive order directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to expedite a proceeding so that LNG could be moved by rail tank cars within 13 months.

The proposed rule that is the subject of public comment was issued in October by the PHMSA.

From the administration’s viewpoint, the rule will provide economic benefits by providing additional transportation options for U.S. energy resources.

In a news release, PHMSA said LNG by rail is seen by the administration as a potential alternative to pipelines, which are not always able to meet the demand of or reach certain areas in the United States that are accessible by rail.

Railroad trade groups that favor the rule have sought to play up the safety record of railroads, saying railroads are involved in only 3 percent of hazardous materials incidents that trucks are involved in, despite having roughly equal hazmat ton-mileage.

The trade groups have even called for the proposed rule to be more expansive than it is, calling for PHMSA to allow LNG to be transported by the 113C140 tank car in addition to the 113C120 and dropping proposed limits on the lengths of trains transporting LNG.

For its part the NTSB has said public safety may be at risk without further study of LNG by rail.

The safety agency said the rule should at a minimum include additional route planning requirements; limit trains transporting large blocks of LNG tank cars to a maximum speed of 50 mph; and require LNG trains to be equipped with electronically controlled pneumatic brakes.

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley wrote to PHMSA Administrator Howard Elliott to warn that loosening restrictions on transporting LNG by rail “would pose serious threats to public safety that do not appear to have been adequately considered” by regulators.

In calling for further study they cited multiple accidents involving trains carrying hazardous materials, including a 2016 derailment in Mosier, Oregon, that spilled 42,000 gallons of crude oil into the Columbia River Gorge and sparked a large fire.

The attorneys general in opposing the LNG by rail rule said it ignores safety risks and doesn’t substantially address environmental issues.

They, too, want the rule withdrawn until further study and an environmental impact statement can be completed.

AG’s Disapprove of Rule Allowing Expanded LNG by Rail

January 16, 2020

The attorneys general of 15 states and the District of Columbia this week issued a joint statement in opposition to a proposal to allow the movement of liquefied natural gas by rail.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration are seeking public comment on the proposal to move LNG in DOT-113 tank cars.

Current rules permit LNG to be moved by truck or by rail only in a portable tank that is approved by the FRA.

The House of Representatives last year approved an amendment to ban the U.S. Department of Transportation from issuing permits to move LNG by rail.

That amendment was prompted by an executive order that directed the secretary of transportation to finalize a rule that would “treat LNG the same as other cryogenic liquids and permit LNG to be transported in approved rail cars.”

In December, PHMSA granted a special permit to Energy Transport Solutions LLC to move LNG in DO-113 tank cars from Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, and Gibbstown, New Jersey.

Union Wants FRA to Order Brake Valves Replaced

December 27, 2019

A railroad union wants the Federal Railroad Administration to issue an emergency order to require the immediate replacement of what it termed outdated air brake valves on freight cars.

The SMART Transportation Division said tens of thousands of model DB-10 air brake valves have remained in use beyond their fixed lifespan and during cold weather these valves can leak air, causing freight-train operators to lose braking capabilities.

In a news release, SMART TD noted the the Association of American Railroads issued a maintenance advisory in 2013 that railroads replace and repair the malfunctioning valves.
SMART TD said that although the AAR made recommendations the fixes have thus far been unsatisfactory.

Railroads have been reluctant to replace old parts in a thorough way because of the potential delays it could cause to customers, the union said and has instead used a “catch-as-can” approach.

In an unrelated development, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-New Jersey) have called upon the Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration to to thoroughly analyze the potential impacts of transporting liquefied natural gas by rail tank car.

The congressmen sent a letter to PHMSA Administrator Howard Elliott asking his agency to conduct the analysis of public and environmental risks, and apply stringent safety protections and operational controls when LNG is transported by rail car through communities.

The letter came in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking published by PHMSA in late October whereby the agency in coordination with the FRA proposed the rule to permit the transport of large quantities of LNG throughout the country by rail tank car.

PHMSA has granted a special permit to Energy Transport Solutions to move LNG from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, “without appropriate research and analysis of the safety risks to communities and no opportunity for the public to address operating conditions,” the congressmen said.

DOT Moving Along LNG By Rail Rule

October 22, 2019

A proposal to allow liquefied natural gas to move by rail in DOT-113 tank cars is being moved along by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration published last week a notice of proposed rulemaking to allow LNG to be transported by tank car.

The rule stems from an executive order issued last April by President Trump that directed U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to fast-track a process that would allow LNG to be moved through the United States in rail tank cars within 13 months.
Current regulations allow LNG to be transported by rail only in a portable tank with an approval from FRA.

In a news release, DOT said moving LNG by rail would provide a viable alternative to pipelines, which are unable to reach certain areas of the country.

“This major rule will establish a safe, reliable and durable mode of transportation for LNG, while substantially increasing economic benefits and our nation’s energy competitiveness in the global market,” said PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott.

FRA shares regulatory oversight for safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail.

However, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) criticized the proposed rule, citing safety concerns.

DeFazio said the rule would allow moving LNG in “old tank cars without sufficient testing, analysis or reviews poses major risks to the health and safety of communities across the nation.”

In a statement, DeFazio said, “Authorizing hazardous materials for transportation by rail should be a careful and deliberative process, supported by science and evidence, with adequate protections in place for the communities where this stuff is traveling.

“It is not something to be done with the stroke of a pen. The results of his order could be catastrophic.”