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Association of American Railroads Tank Car Information

Association of American Railroads Tank Car Information

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Association of American Railroads Tank Car Information
Association of American Railroads Tank Car Information

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Published by: Time Warner Cable News on Jul 22, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Railroad Tank Cars
Fast Facts:
Railroads in general do not own rail tank cars; the vast majority are owned by leasingcompanies or rail customers to ship products.The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Transport Canada (TC) and theAssociation of American Railroads (AAR)-North American Tank Car Committee issue tankcar regulations and standards. DOT and TC issue federal regulations, while the AAR-North American Tank Car Committee sets industry standards.
The Tank Car Committee’s standards today
exceed the federal requirements. DOT-111tank cars for crude oil and ethanol ordered after October 2011 meet the higher AAR-Tank Car Committee standards.There are 310,000 tank cars (pressure and non-
pressure) in today’
s fleet, of which240,000 are DOT-111 tank cars. All DOT-111 tank cars operating today meet bothcurrent federal regulatory requirements and AAR-North American Tank Car Committeestandards and continue to operate safely.DOT-111s are non-pressure tank cars designed to carry a mixture of hazardous and non-hazardous materials, including crude oil and ethanol.Roughly half of the tank cars used to move crude today were built to the higherspecifications spelled out by the Tank Car Committee.
Railroads Have an Outstanding Track Record in Safely Delivering Hazardous Materials
In 2012, North American railroads safely delivered more than 2.47 million carloads of hazardous materials. (Source: 2012 Bureau of Explosives Annual Report)More than 99.997 percent of hazardous material carloads moving by rail arrive at theirdestination without a release caused by an accident. (Source: AAR Analysis of FRA TrainAccident Database. Carloads from ICC/STB Waybill Sample)Rail hazmat accident rates have declined 91 percent since 1980. (Source: AAR Analysisof FRA Train Accident Database. Carloads from ICC/STB Waybill Sample)
Standards Setting
DOT and the AAR-North American Tank Car Committee
The AAR-North American Tank Car Committee is comprised of the AAR, rail car owners andmanufacturers as well as shippers of hazmat, rail customers, DOT, TC and the National
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The committee works together to develop technicalstandards for how rail cars, including tank cars used to move hazmat, are designed andconstructed.
DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
and TC issuefederal tank car regulations. However, the AAR-North American Tank Car Committeealso issues standards, which today exceed the federal requirements.In 2008, the AAR-North American Tank Car Committee addressed the existing standardsfor tank cars transporting ethanol. This effort was expanded to include all DOT packinggroup I and II hazardous materials. Ethanol, as well as some crude oil, are packing groupI and II materials.AAR on behalf of the AAR-North American Tank Car Committee petitioned PHMSA inMarch 2011 to adopt
the Committee’s
new standards for packing group I and IIhazardous materials. These standards are predicted to result in an almost 50 percentdecrease in the probability of a release from a derailed tank car.
Under AAR’s proposal,
the standards would be applicable to new tank cars.Recognizing that DOT action was not imminent, in July of 2011 AAR adopted the higherstandards proposed to DOT as requirements for new tank cars transporting crude oiland ethanol, ordered after October 1, 2011. The Tank Car Committee felt this wasneeded to ensure that the thousands of new tank cars being built would meet thehigher safety standard.All DOT-111 crude oil and ethanol tank cars ordered since October 2011 adhere to thetougher Tank Car Committee standards and include:
Thicker, puncture-resistant shell
Extra protective head shields at both ends of tank car
Additional protection for the top fittings
Higher flow capacity pressure release valves
NTSB and DOT-111 Recommendations
Following an accident in Illinois in 2009, the NTSB made a number of safety recommendationsto both the AAR and PHMSA regarding the DOT-111s.

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