New recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada could affect tens of thousands of older model DOT-111 rail cars that have long served as the top choice for the oil-by-rail industry.
The DOT-111 rail cars are the same models as the ones involved in the summer 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster that left 47 people dead. The train had been transporting large quantities of oil, which spilled onto the Quebec landscape when the runaway train derailed.
For the first time, the TSB has joined up with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to push for improved safety and oversight for oil-by-rail transport.
“In the course of our Lac-Mégantic investigation, we found three critical weaknesses in the North American rail system which must be urgently addressed,” Wendy Tadros, chair of the Canadian TSB, said in a joint statement of recommendations from the two agencies released January 23, 2014.
The second recommendation from the TSB calls for strategic route-planning and safer train operations for all trains carrying dangerous goods in Canada.
For the third recommendation, the TSB said it wants to see emergency response assistance plans, known as ERAPs, along routes where large volumes of liquid hydrocarbons are being shipped.
“The right resources must be in place to reduce the severity and impact of a spill or fire,” the TSB said in the joint statement.
North America’s oil-by-rail stats are growing substantially. There were approximately 560,000 carloads of crude oil transported in Canada and the U.S. in 2013 after only a combined 11,300 in 2009, according to industry estimates.
This news item originally appeared in EcoLog News. To learn how to subscribe, visit www.ecolog.com