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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

PHMSA rejects AAR's appeal of tank-car rule


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) expressed disappointment yesterday in the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) rejection of the railroad industry's appeal of the recently enacted flammable liquids tank-car rule.

In a decision issued Nov. 6, PHMSA responded to AAR and four other appeals to the final federal rule on enhanced tank car standards and operational controls for high-hazard flammable trains. AAR's appeal related to the rule for thermal protection of tank cars. In response to the agency's decision, AAR spokesman Ed Greenberg issued the following statement:

"PHMSA rejected the freight-rail industry petition to require tank cars moving flammable liquids to be equipped with thermal blankets designed to afford more time before the flammable liquid in a tank car ignites. PHMSA also chose to deny the AAR's request that older tank cars needing retrofits be equipped with top-fittings protection to prevent valves from shearing off in an accident.

"AAR had also urged that all flammable liquid tank cars, as opposed to just trains moving 20 or more such tank cars, be equipped with safety features announced in the new rule. This would, AAR maintained, close a loophole that currently allows shippers to use older DOT-111 tank cars without these safety features."

The agency, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration, also rejected an appeal from the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council to the new federal rule requiring electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) braking systems. During the rulemaking process, AAR also objected to the ECP brake requirement.

PHMSA's response to the appeals can be found here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/11/2015