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

Author:
Updated:
Original:

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

Screen Shot 2021-02-27 at 9.39.00 AM

Teen wounded in 'accidental shooting' in Moorhead

The 18-year-old was shot in the abdomen.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Watch: Another absurd night for Kaprizov as his legend grows

Kaprizov scored a crazy wrap-around goal in the Wild's victory over the Kings.

uber-eats-4709288_1920

DoorDash, Uber Eats bump service fees for Twin Cities customers

After Minneapolis and St. Paul limited what companies can charge restaurants, DoorDash and Uber are charging customers about a dollar more

hockey rink ice arena

Hill-Murray girls' hockey shut down after 3 players with COVID symptoms kept playing

The players showed 'complete disregard' for the school's COVID

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 6.18.55 AM

Narrow band of intense snow to bring up to 7 inches to Minnesota

A winter storm watch has been issued where more than 6 inches could pile up.

Icicles; frozen; winter

As Minnesotans brace for huge gas bills, state ups assistance to $1200

Texas wasn't the only state impacted by February's arctic blast.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

3 first-period goals lead Wild over Kings

With three goals in just over three minutes, the Wild sealed their fifth straight victory.

butcher and the boar

Butcher & the Boar makes comeback with new ownership

Local hospitality company Jester Concepts has bought the brand. The new location is still being determined.

Hy-Vee

Staff at Mankato Hy-Vee incorrectly diluted COVID vaccines for 62 patients

The retailer says that there is no reason for medical concern.

Related