Posts Tagged ‘tank cars’

NTSB Finds Anomalies With Tank Car Relief Valves Taken From 5 Cars in East Palestine Derailment

March 22, 2023

Investigators found anomalies with the function of some pressure relief devices removed from the five vinyl chloride monomer tank cars involved in the Feb. 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine.

The valves regulate the internal pressure of rail tank cars by releasing material when under pressure.

National Transportation Safety Board officials said the defects were found during a review of the valves at a Texas laboratory.

The NTSB finding said the function of some values may have compromised their pressure relieving capability. However, officials said further testing is needed to further investigate that finding.

The investigation at the Texas lab found that  one of the internal springs of one of the values was coated with aluminum, which is not compatible with vinyl chloride.

The NTSB report said that although aluminum debris from melted protective housing covers entered the valve discharge areas, there was no evidence that melted aluminum entered the tank car itself.

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.

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.