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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AAR, RAC back Transport Canada's tank-car safety proposal

In response to a recent string of crude-oil train derailments and explosions, Transport Canada on Wednesday unveiled a proposal that would require rail cars hauling crude oil and other flammable goods to meet new safety standards.

The measures include requiring the cars to have thicker steel, thermal protection, full shields at each end and more protection over the valves. The new standards would have to be in place no later than 2025.

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) and Railway Association of Canada (RAC) both endorsed the Canadian government's effort to improve the TC-117 tank-car standards.

"We are pleased with Transport Canada's sensible approach of expediting the rulemaking process for tank car standards, to help provide greater certainty in the rail car marketplace," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger in a prepared statement.

"We support the Canadian government's proposed improvements to flammable liquid tank cars, as AAR has long supported added jackets, thermal protection, thicker steel, full-height head shields, as well as additional top and bottom outlet protection," Hamberger added. "These are important protections to both help mitigate the potential for rupture of a tank car, as well as limiting the severity of an incident."

A statement issued by RAC said it also supports the new standards, as well as the Canadian government's "aggressive timeline for phasing out DOT-111 tank cars built before 2011."

"Canada’s railway industry has advocated for Transport Canada to introduce more robust tank car standards that go beyond the current CPC-1232 design," RAC officials said. "We believe that the reinforced standard announced today will further improve the safety of transporting dangerous goods by rail."

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More News from 3/12/2015