Rail Tank Car Industry Calls for Additional Safety Measures

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The Railway Supply Institute Committee on Tank Cars (RSICTC) is asking the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider new safety measures for tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol.

In a letter to DOT Secretary Anthony R. Foxx, RSICTC proposed additional safety requirements on newly manufactured railway tank cars, a prohibition on placing additional legacy tank cars into crude oil and ethanol service and prioritization of the modification of existing legacy crude oil and ethanol tank cars.  The call comes after three years of waiting for the government to issue new rules that would create an industry standard and help mitigate product loss after train derailments.

“The discovery of new sources of crude oil in North America is one of the most important developments for our economy in the last few decades,” Thomas D. Simpson, President of RSI said in a statement. “Addressing a 4000 percent increase in delivery of those resources by rail and protecting the public requires actions by railroads, shippers, tank car manufacturers and the federal government.

“Today we clearly laid out how tank cars can be made safer as quickly as possible,” Simpson added. “Now it’s up to the federal government to complete its rulemaking and issue new standards for the manufacture and modification of tank cars meant to carry crude oil or ethanol.”

In 2011, manufacturers began voluntarily building tank cars to a new standard (CPC-1232) jointly developed with the railroads and petitioned DOT to issue a new regulatory standard. The DOT has not taken any action on the proposal, according to RSICTC.