NTSB wants aggressive schedule for improved rail tank cars

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WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board issued four “urgent” recommendations on Monday calling for more robust and fire-resistant rail cars to be produced to safely carry flammable liquids such as crude oil and ethanol.
Transport of Bakken crude oil through the Hudson Valley along the West Shore line has been a major concern of communities along the route.

Tank cars sitting near Cornwall (file)

In its recommendations, the NTSB called for an aggressive schedule of
replacing or retrofitting the current rail car fleet with better thermal
protection against heat from fires, and increasing the capacity of pressure
relief devices.
The board said the current DOT-111 tank cars rupture too quickly when
exposed to fire caused by a derailment or other accident with resulting
spillage and ignition.
The board also called for swiftness in changing the fleet and called
for intermediate deadlines and transparent reporting to ensure the tank
car fleet is being upgraded as quickly as possible.
“The NTSB is our nation’s premier, independent safety agency and when they make recommendations for how to make crude oil transport by rail safer, everyone should listen,” said US Senator Charles Schumer. “It’s long past time for DOT and OMB to get on board by issuing a tough new tank car standard immediately.”