Posts Tagged ‘Railroad tank cars’

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.

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.

More Tank Cars Now Meet Federal Standards

September 26, 2020

A report released this week concludes that 48 percent of railroad tank cars that carried Class 3 flammable liquids in 2019 met the new federal safety requirements, up from 33 percent in 2018.

The report released by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics tracks the transformation of the fleet carrying Class 3 flammable liquids to be a fleet of DOT-117s, which meet new safety requirements.

In a news release, BTS said some Class 3 flammable liquids are carried in tank cars, such as DOT-111s that have fewer safety features.

DOT-117 compliant tank cars now make up 73 percent of the tank car fleet, up from 46 percent in 2018.

BTS said DOT-111 tank cars, which lack jackets and do not meet the new safety standards, have not carried crude oil since 2016 and the percentage of all other tank car types carrying crude oil dropped from 66 percent in 2017 to 28 percent in 2019, BTS officials said.

Federal law mandated that railroads stop carrying crude oil in DOT-111 tank cars starting in 2018.

The BTS report described the progress of tank car safety upgrades from 2013 through 2019 by tank car type and type of flammable liquid. Class 3 flammable liquids most commonly include crude oil, ethanol and refined petroleum products.

Final Rule on LNG Transport Announced

June 20, 2020

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in consultation with the Federal Railroad Administration released on Friday a a final rule authorizing the bulk transportation of liquefied natural gas by rail.

The rule, which will be published in the Federal Register, will allow the transport of LNG in DOT-113C120W9 (DOT-113) specification tank cars with enhanced outer tank requirements and additional operational controls.

The rule generally comports with a executive order issued by President Donald Trump in April 2019.

In a news release, DOT noted that transport of LNG has previously been allowed with FRA approval in a portable tank.

“Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations have also authorized the transportation of other flammable cryogenic materials for many years in DOT-113 tank cars,” DOT said in a statement. “This final rule also incorporates newly designated additional safety requirements, such as an enhanced thicker carbon steel outer tank.”

DOT said the rule also requires remote monitoring of the pressure and location of LNG tank cars, requires improved braking and requires a two-way end-of-train device or distributed power system when a train is transporting 20 or more tank cars loaded with LNG in a continuous block, or 35 or more such tank cars of LNG anywhere in the train consist.

Railroads will be required to conduct route risk assessments to evaluate safety and security.

Railroads Resist Storing Crude in Tank Cars

April 11, 2020

Suggestions from oil companies that they be allowed to store surplus crude oil in railroad tank cars are not getting a positive reception from the railroad industry.

Carriers are citing safety concerns when asked by shippers about long-term storage of crude oil.

The oil companies have raised the idea because the plunge in crude oil prices combined with reduced demand have left them with large supplies of crude oil and fewer places to store it.

Railroads have pointed out that federal rules limit storage of oil in rail cars, even at private facilities.

Those rules permit the storage of only a small amount of crude oil.

An oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia has led to sharp declines in crude oil prices.

Oil Companies Want to Store Crude in Tank Cars

April 3, 2020

Some oil companies are seeking tank cars to store a glut of crude oil that has been rendered surplus due to a downturn in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The companies are running out of convenient places to store crude oil and are looking to lease tank cars for three months to a year.

Bloomberg News reported that companies will be required to follow certain Federal Railroad Administration rules and that there are some safety concerns surrounding storage of crude oil in tank cars.

Oil companies have leased tank cars for storage of crude oil before, the last time being in 2016.

The price of crude oil has been hovering around $22 a barrel in United States with some crude oil produced in Alberta, Canada, selling for less than $10 a barrel.

Report Calls for More Action on Tank Car Safety

October 13, 2017

Tanks cars could be made safer if the Federal Railroad Administration would “enable and incentivize more frequent and comprehensive inspections of rail routes with regular energy liquids traffic,” a report by the Transportation Research Board concluded.

The TRB said that although the vast majority of hazardous liquids have been transported safely by the rail, pipeline, and maritime industries, the volume of that traffic has grown significantly since 2005 and there is an “incomplete understanding of the dynamics of tank-car unit train derailments and a lack of clear guidelines and resources for state and local emergency responders.”

Among the issues that need to be addressed are the technical basis for track inspection standards, lack of training of first responders, and differences in the ways that officials gather and share accident data among states and communities subject to liquid fuels.

The report said some railroads continue to use older and less crashworthy tank cars.

That was disputed somewhat by the Association of American Railroads, which told a congressional committee recently that through the first two quarters of 2017, only 156 DOT-111 cars remain in flammable liquids service.

AAR said the weaker DOT-111 cars are being phased out in favor of the sturdier DOT-117 tank cars.

The TRB reports called for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to ensure that preparedness grants meet the needs of communities, and make sure that first responders are taking advantage of training opportunities.

It wants the FRA to provide incentives for more frequent inspections along routes used for transporting flammables, including the use of sensors and other monitoring technology.

Regulators need to encourage carriers “to make greater use of quantitative risk analysis tools … to inform decisions about priorities for maintenance and integrity management of the equipment and infrastructure.”

The Red Grain Elevator of Wellington

May 19, 2017

A certain member of the Akron Railroad Club is known for his passion for photographing trains and grain elevators.

I know that in particular he likes the red grain facility in Wellington alongside the Greenwich Subdivision of CSX.

It makes for a dramatic  image in late afternoon sunlight. From what I can see, the facility is no longer served by rail.

I didn’t go there on a recent outing just to capture the red grain elevator. As much as anything I went there because Wellington wasn’t being covered  by clouds.

CSX cooperated beautifully by sending a pair of westbounds through town, a stack train and an ethanol train.

The ethanol train shown at top was the second of the pair and I tend to like that image the best of the two.

No Serious Injuries After Tank Car Leak

August 30, 2016

No serious injuries were reported but a chlorine leak from a tank car leak forced some residents in northwestern West Virginia and southeastern Ohio to evacuate their home last weekend.

CSX logo 3The evacuations occurred after a loaded tank car developed a small liquid chlorine leak inside a chemical facility in Proctor at Axiall Corporation’s Natrium chemical facility.

Axiall said in a statement that the plant was shut down while hazmat crews evacuated the railcar and the area of the leak.

One employee and a contract worker were treated at a nearby hospital, the company said.

The plant is located along the CSX Ohio River Subdivision between Parkersburg and Benwood, West Virginia.

Glimmer of Good News in Freight Car Report

July 21, 2016

A railroad industry analyst has found of glimmer of good news in the 2016 second quarter freight car order report of the Railway Supply Institute.

KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Steve Barger said the order, delivery and backlog statistics are “somewhat better than expected.”

train image2The report said that second quarter orders increased sequentially to 7,555 cars from 6,646 in the first quarter of this year.

Carbuilders delivered 15,655 railcars in the second quarter of 2016, which was a decrease from first quarter deliveries of 16,834 cars.

The freight car backlog is 89,155 units, which although down 6.2 percent from the 95,038 units of the first quarter is at historical highs.

Barger said there appears to be a replacement market that is experiencing modest growth.

Non-tank car orders totaled 4,363 units in the second quarter as opposed to 5,729 units in the first quarter.

Covered hoppers experienced the largest concentration in orders, totaling 2,017 rail cars, or about 27 percent of the total, below last quarter’s 51 percent, with mid-cube covered hoppers representing the majority of the orders at 1,286 cars, vs. 2,020 cars ordered in the first quarter.

Orders for large-cube and small-cube covered hoppers were 708 and 23 cars, respectively, as opposed to 1,335 and zero, respectively, for the first quarter.

Orders for tank cars were 3,192 units as opposed to 917 in the first quarter.

Tank cars and covered hoppers accounted for more than 69 percent of total orders in the second quarter against 64 percent last quarter.