Final rules for moving flammable liquids by rail announced

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Friday that final rules for transporting flammable liquids by rail, including new tank car standards, will improve safety.

The rules, created by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), will significantly modify the potentially dangerous transportation of flammable liquids by rail by improving accident prevention, emergency response and mitigation.

The rules require a new, enhanced standard for tank cars as well as a risk-based, aggressive retrofitting schedule for transports made by older tank cars that move ethanol and crude oils. The rules also have a new braking standard, new operational protocols and new testing and sampling requirements.

“Safety has been our top priority at every step in the process for finalizing this rule, which is a significant improvement over the current regulations and requirements and will make transporting flammable liquids safer,” Foxx said. “Our close collaboration with Canada on new tank car standards is recognition that the trains moving unprecedented amounts of crude by rail are not U.S. or Canadian tank cars – they are part of a North American fleet and a shared safety challenge.”

The rules were announced by both US and Canadian representatives.

“This stronger, safer, more robust tank car will protect communities on both sides of our shared border,” Canada Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt said. “Through strong collaboration we have developed a harmonized solution for North America’s tank car fleet. I am hopeful that this kind of cooperation will be a model for future Canada-U.S. partnership on transportation issues.”


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