Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Feds call for 'aggressive schedule' to improve safety of oil train cars

Author:

After a series of high-profile derailments and subsequent spills, federal officials are calling for the next generation of railway oil tankers to be significantly safer than the current crop.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Monday issued four "urgent recommendations" that would have a bearing on the numerous oil trains that make their way through Minnesota every day.

The board calls for "an aggressive schedule" to replace or retrofit railcars to better protect against heat from fires, as well as improve their ability to withstand impact damage in collisions or derailments.

"We can’t wait a decade for safer rail cars," NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said. "Crude oil rail traffic is increasing exponentially."

"The industry needs to make this issue a priority and expedite the safety enhancements; otherwise we continue to put our communities at risk," he added.

The board referred to the current stock of DOT-111 tank cars – in common use across North America – which it says "rupture too quickly when exposed to a pool fire caused by a derailment or other accident" – which leads to the oil spilling and igniting.

A study by Minnesota's Department of Public Safety last year revealed that 50 trains carrying more than one million gallons of crude oil pass through the state each week – though this amount may have fallen recently, as production has dropped due to low oil prices.

Trains carrying oil from North Dakota's Bakken oil formation have been involved in multiple derailments in recent years – with one in West Virginia in February sending a "fireball into the sky" when a derailed train caught fire.

A recent study by the Department of Transportation estimates there will be 10 oil train derailments a year in the next two decades, resulting in $4 billion in damage and hundreds of deaths, unless the safety of oil cars is improved significantly.

Next Up

Justin Morneau

5 former Minnesota Twins are on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot

Four were staples on the 2000s teams and the other is the one that got away.

kitchen window minneapolis google street view - crop

Kitchen Window reveals it will close, announces storewide sale

The premium cookware shop has been in business for more than 35 years.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, November 23

The latest info from the state health department.

Monoclonal antibodies

COVID: New monoclonal antibody clinic to open in Twin Cities

Monoclonal antibody treatment can help prevent hospitalization from COVID.

hopkins high school GSV Pro - CROP

Principal reveals more details about Monday fight at Hopkins High School

She revealed more details about the incident that prompted a shelter in place Monday.

Screen Shot 2021-11-23 at 8.46.26 AM

School board walks out amid angry scenes at meeting over racism in Prior Lake

The meeting grew tense after the board heard from multiple student speakers.

Sassy Spoon 2

Popular gluten-free restaurant Sassy Spoon closes suddenly

It began life as a food truck before moving into a permanent space in 2015.

farming field

Minnesota farmer ordered to repay $1.4M for loan fraud

The 67-year-old pleaded guilty in federal court.

ambulance

1 dead after truck driver collides with semi stopped in traffic in St. Cloud

A St. Cloud woman who was a passenger in the straight truck died in the crash.

Burnsville High School

South metro district moves to distance learning to combat COVID surge

The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district is dealing with high case levels and transmission.

Related