Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Time to ‘aggressively phase out’ old, unsafe tank cars carrying oil, says CN
Calgary Herald ^ | JANUARY 13, 2014 | BRUCE CHEADLE

Posted on 01/14/2014 11:07:32 AM PST by thackney

The railway industry wants to “aggressively phase out” older model tank cars that have been implicated in several recent accidents, the head of CN Rail’s safety division told an industry forum Monday.

But the consensus at the day-long workshop was that there’s no quick fix for a decades-old problem that has almost 80,000 sub-standard DOT-111 tank cars carrying flammable liquids on North American tracks.

And whatever the solution, the cost eventually will be borne by consumers.

Sam Berrada, director general of safety and occupational health services for CN, told an overflow crowd of industry types, regulators, lobbyists and local first responders that railways “will continue to push aggressively” for safer, stronger tank cars.

A derailment and fire involving a CN train in northwestern New Brunswick last week has renewed calls for greater safety in the booming oil-by-rail trade, which became an international cause following last summer’s deadly derailment and fire in Lac-Megantic, Que.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt responded on the weekend by promising the government will formalize the standard for new tank car construction adopted by the rail industry in October 2011.

“Our government’s new tougher standards to the DOT-111 tank cars are part of our commitment to making the rail sector safer,” spokesman Remi Moreau said in an email Monday.

But the government’s announced standards are not new and not tougher — they simply match those already voluntarily adopted by industry more than two years ago.

The forum heard from CN’s Berrada and others that even better cars than the post-2011 model might be in order, although Berrada did praise the performance of three post-2011 cars involved in the New Brunswick derailment.

Moves to date, however, don’t even begin to address the vast majority of older rolling stock.

Governments in Canada and the United States have been reluctant to deal with the huge number of older DOT-111s, in part because of the cost and logistics of an overhaul.

Moreau said Raitt has asked an advisory council “to report back to the minister on additional enhancements and recommendations with respect to the DOT-111.”

Raitt will be working on the standards with her U.S. counterpart, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Moreau added.

An official with the Canadian Transportation Agency also told the forum the government is considering the idea of a rail industry disaster fund, similar to the fund financed by the shipping industry for environmental clean-ups at sea.

Monday’s forum heard that out of 335,000 tank cars of all types in use in North America, 228,000 are the model known as DOT-111. About 92,000 DOT-111s are used to carry flammable liquids, and only 14,000 of those are the new, stronger cars built after October 2011.

That means 78,000 older DOT-111s remain the workhorse of the oil-by-rail boom.

“You can’t just snap your fingers and change the fleet overnight,” Bob Ballantyne, a career railway man who now works for the Freight Management Association of Canada, said in an interview.

Ballantyne told the forum that railway companies collectively own fewer than 700 tank cars (CN Rail owns just 20), while eight leasing companies own more than 243,000 tankers and shippers own another 79,000.

Retrofitting older cars can cost more than $70,000 each, while new tank cars cost well over $100,000.

“It is, I think, inevitable that safety will be enhanced and there will be increased costs for consignors, consignees, carriers, governments and the general public,” said Ballantyne. “How these increased costs will be allocated across the supply chain remains to be seen.”

Malcolm Cairns, the past president of the Canadian Transportation Research Forum, predicts government intervention will ultimately be necessary to get everyone onboard the pricey make-over of the North American fleet.

Marc Garneau, the Liberal international trade critic, wonders what the government is waiting for.

“There’s no question the responsible thing to do for the government of Canada is to make sure, if these DOT-111 tankers are going to continue, that they have to be upgraded,” Garneau said in an interview.

“Something has to be done because of what we’ve seen in the past six months and what can potentially occur as the amount of oil (being shipped) continues to increase. It’s just too dangerous.”

NDP Transport critic Olivia Chow issued a press release blasting the Conservatives, claiming the government is “recklessly backtracking” on emergency rules imposed last summer after the Lac-Megantic crash, while failing to move on the tank car safety issue.

“Keeping citizens safe is a core responsibility of any government,” Chow said in the release.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Canada; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: dot111; energy; oil; rail; train

1 posted on 01/14/2014 11:07:32 AM PST by thackney
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: thackney

Use more buffer cars.


2 posted on 01/14/2014 11:10:29 AM PST by Paladin2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: thackney

Hmm. A bone thrown to Carl Icahn? (He owns ACF.)


3 posted on 01/14/2014 11:11:51 AM PST by Olog-hai
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Olog-hai

Time to build a pipeline


4 posted on 01/14/2014 11:12:18 AM PST by thorvaldr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: thackney

5 posted on 01/14/2014 11:15:50 AM PST by frithguild (The warmth and goodness of Gaia is a nuclear reactor in the Earth's core that burns Thorium)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: thackney

Or, we could construct a safer alternative than rail transport - perhaps, oh, I don’t know, a pipeline?


6 posted on 01/14/2014 11:16:03 AM PST by WayneS (Respect the 2nd Amendment; Repeal the 16th (and 17th))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WayneS

A transporter is their dream.


7 posted on 01/14/2014 11:16:53 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: WayneS

That will not make Warren Buffett very happy.


8 posted on 01/14/2014 11:17:00 AM PST by VRWCarea51
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: thackney

I’ll wager that by the end of 2014, more people will be dead as a result of ObamaCare than have died from train crashes during the entire existence of the DOT 111 cars.


9 posted on 01/14/2014 11:17:46 AM PST by Balding_Eagle (Over production, one of the top 5 worries for the American Farmer every year.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: thackney
80,000 tanks * 100,000 (Cost of new) = $8,000,000,000.

$2 billion a year for 4 years. Ought to do it.

Then another $2 billion a year for 4 more years to replace the defective tanks we bought from China during the first 4 years, because we are too stupid to buy American.

10 posted on 01/14/2014 11:18:33 AM PST by DannyTN (A>)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: thorvaldr

No pipeline is going to be built while Buffett is still alive and owning BNSF.

You think its an accident that Keystone wasn’t built?


11 posted on 01/14/2014 11:18:44 AM PST by RinaseaofDs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: thackney

What’s the cost of this vs. a pipeline?


12 posted on 01/14/2014 11:20:08 AM PST by Vince Ferrer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Olog-hai
Warren Buffett owns Union Tank Car.
13 posted on 01/14/2014 11:23:56 AM PST by Brad from Tennessee (A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: thackney

I have a 65 year old hammer that still works.


14 posted on 01/14/2014 11:25:32 AM PST by FatherofFive (Islam is evil and must be eradicated)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VRWCarea51
Mr. Buffet will be perfectly happy.

Tank cars, in North America, are privately owned; so when the railroad industry combines to prematurely retire the existing tank car fleet, they don't bear the direct cost. (Indirectly, they bear the cost of any inefficiency which might transfer a competitive advantage to a competing mode, but the railroad industry never really has come to grips with the fact that transportation is competitive).

15 posted on 01/14/2014 11:32:26 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: thackney

Five major derailments in Canada involving tank cars during the past 12 months. Build the pipeline.


16 posted on 01/14/2014 11:35:26 AM PST by Dartman (CDN PM Stephen Harper may not be perfect, but we don't have to be ashamed or embarassed of him.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WayneS

Obviously a pipeline is needed. Obvious to all except greenie imbeciles


17 posted on 01/14/2014 11:36:59 AM PST by dennisw (The first principle is to find out who you are then you can achieve anything -- Buddhist monk)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: thackney
Whew!!! When they said "tank cars" I thought they meant like my 1970 Buick Estate Wagon.

It ain't phasing out anywhere.

18 posted on 01/14/2014 11:42:16 AM PST by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: thackney

The rail cars are getting around the pipeline ban so the rail cars have to be banned also.


19 posted on 01/14/2014 11:42:44 AM PST by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINEhttp://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Resolute Conservative

Their dream is to further hamper the transportation of oil to the refiners.


20 posted on 01/14/2014 11:44:30 AM PST by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINEhttp://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Mr. Lucky
Mr. Buffet will be perfectly happy.

Very Happy. He bought a company that builds rail tank cars.

Warren Buffett Cashes In on Railroad Tank Cars
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-14/2014-outlook-warren-buffett-cashes-in-on-railroad-tank-cars
November 14, 2013

21 posted on 01/14/2014 11:45:37 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: thackney

Wholly coincidental, I’m sure.


22 posted on 01/14/2014 11:55:18 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: thorvaldr

“Time to build a pipeline”

Amen and dittoes. Pipelines can run 24/7 at steady speed, the product being moved can be changed with minimum disruption of operations, once in place it operates for years with regular maintenance and upkeep, probably at far less cost than what would be required for a roadbed and the individual cars, let alone the daily diligence that must be maintained in scheduling and tracking assembled trains and their switching off at given points.

Use of tank cars and moving by rail is SO 1930’s level of technology. The Second World War led to the establishment of the “Big Inch” and “Little Big Inch” pipelines, which greatly expedited the movement of petroleum product from the oilfields to the refineries and on to the port of embarkation, where these products were sent out all over the world to supply our war machine and those of the allies. These pioneer pipelines have long been abandoned, but the lessons and technology survived, and have been key in establishing the safety and reliability of using this means of transport of a messy and sometimes unpredictable class of product.


23 posted on 01/14/2014 11:56:36 AM PST by alloysteel (Those who deny natural climate change are forever doomed to stupidity. AGW is a LIE.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: alloysteel

These pioneer pipelines have long been abandoned

- - - - - - -

Not True.

Texas Eastern formed in 1947 with the purchase of two wartime-built pipelines, the Big Inch and the Little Big Inch, from the U.S. government. With numerous improvements and modifications over time, the pipelines are still in use and are a vital part of Spectra Energy. Today, the Texas Eastern Transmission system ranks fourth among the nation’s gas pipelines in system capacity.

http://www.spectraenergy.com/About-Us/History/Texas-Eastern/


24 posted on 01/14/2014 12:08:37 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: thackney

I had not realized the Big Inch and Little Big Inch were still in use. This would even further buttresses my contention that the transport by tank cars should be phased out, as the lifetime of a pipeline involved is far greater than that of a common carrier of only limited size, moving at the whim of the train as a whole.

Efficiency wins over egregious clinging to old technology every time it is tried.


25 posted on 01/14/2014 12:17:59 PM PST by alloysteel (Those who deny natural climate change are forever doomed to stupidity. AGW is a LIE.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: alloysteel
Most of it is still in use. Sections replaced, some portions shut down.

Texas Eastern Transmission

26 posted on 01/14/2014 12:20:27 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Olog-hai

Seems like a good industry to invest in as the rails are hot today. Tanker Car manafactures like ACF or Trinity TRN should see the value of their stock grow as any of the companies who supply the oil boom areas. Can you name other companies who would be a good place to invest. Time for everybody to make some money on the Shale oil boom.


27 posted on 01/14/2014 7:29:56 PM PST by ncfool (Obama's aMeriKa 2012 The land of entitlement for the 51% crowd.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson