Category Archives: Crude By Rail

Second derailment of a crude oil train in two days: this one near Denver

Repost from The Republic, of Columbus, Indiana
[Editor – see also yesterday’s posting of a derailment near Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada.  – RS]

Crews work to clean up after 6 cars of a 100-car oil crude train derails northwest of Denver

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS  |  May 09, 2014
PHOTO: Crews work to clean up several train cars that were derailed and flipped along the track southwest of LaSalle, Colo. on Friday, May 9, 2014. The train, loaded in Windsor with Niobrara crude bound for New York, derailed around 8 a.m. according to Union Pacific Spokesman Mark Davis. Officials found one car of the 100-car train was leaking. (AP Photo/The Greeley Tribune, Joshua Polson)Crews work to clean up several train cars that were derailed and flipped along the track southwest of LaSalle, Colo. on Friday, May 9, 2014. The train, loaded in Windsor with Niobrara crude bound for New York, derailed around 8 a.m. according to Union Pacific Spokesman Mark Davis. Officials found one car of the 100-car train was leaking. (AP Photo/The Greeley Tribune, Joshua Polson)

LASALLE, Colorado — Crews from Union Pacific Railroad worked to clear a six-car oil train derailment that leaked some crude into a ditch Friday in northern Colorado.

State and local emergency officials determined that one car of the 100-car train was leaking after the 8 a.m. derailment near LaSalle, about 45 miles north of Denver.

The cause of the derailment was under investigation, said Micki Trost, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Emergency Management. Crews had contained the spill to a ditch away from any waterways, Trost said.

The amount of oil spilled wasn’t immediately known, but a vacuum truck was brought in to suck up the spill. Tanker trucks lined up nearby to transfer the oil.

According to The Greeley Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/m96ows9 ), the train was loaded in nearby Windsor with Niobrara crude and was bound for New York. Niobrara oil comes from the Niobrara shale formation in Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas. It’s not considered as volatile as Bakken crude from North Dakota and eastern Montana.

Public and political pressure to make oil trains safer began last summer when a runaway oil train carrying Bakken crude derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people and incinerating much of the town. Other trains carrying Bakken crude have derailed and caught fire since then in Alabama, North Dakota, Virginia and New Brunswick, Canada.


Information from: The Tribune of Greeley, Co, http://greeleytribune.com

 

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What they are thinking and planning: Crude By Rail Conference & Expo

Repost from Railway Age
[Editor: A Benicia Independent reader sent me an email notification of this Conference, suggesting that it might be instructive for one of us to attend.  Anyone with time and money available to go?  – RS]

June 12 & 13, 2014  |  Key Bridge Marriott  |  Arlington, VA
· Moving CBR Profitably — and Safely ·

Crude by Rail (CBR) is a rapidly growing source of traffic for the railroads, as well
as a key driver of new freight car construction for carbuilders and component suppliers. Because of recent serious accidents, CBR is also under heavy scrutiny by safety and regulatory agencies.

Railway Age’s Crude By Rail Conference & Expo focuses on moving CBR not just safely,
but also profitably.

Speakers include:
CBR Speakers675
Join these and other industry experts to discuss:
•  Safety & Regulations •  New-Gen Tank Cars
•  Traffic Trends •  First Responder Training
•  Tank Car Financing & Leasing •  Insurance & Liability

Who should attend?
•  Railroad transportation & operating personnel •  Government personnel
•  Carbuilders and component suppliers •  Crude oil producers & refiners
•  Consultants •  First responders
View the full agenda now, including confirmed speakers and topics.
 
REGISTER-BUTTON

Gold SponsorGenesee & Wyoming Supporting organizationsRailWorks   The Greenbrier Companies  AAR
Contact us:   Tel. 212.620.7208 / 212.620.7205 | conferences@sbpub.com | @RailwayAgeEvent
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Wall Street Journal: on the DOT’s nonbinding safety advisory

Repost from The Wall Street Journal
[Editor: Stakeholders, senators, and even the tank car builders say the feds haven’t gone far enough.  Significant quotes: “‘Making it voluntary is not going far enough,’ Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) told Transportation Secretary” … “The trade association representing railcar builders and car-leasing companies said the advisory doesn’t go far enough toward new standards for tank-car construction and retrofitting the existing car fleet.”  – RS]

U.S. Urges Companies to Use Sturdier Tank Cars For Oil-Trains

The Advisory Effectively Applies to About 66,500 Shipping Containers
By Russell Gold  |  May 7, 2014

U.S. safety regulators urged companies shipping crude oil from North Dakota to stop using tank cars that have been implicated in fiery accidents.

The Transportation Department’s nonbinding safety advisory, which carries less weight than an emergency order, said shippers should use the sturdiest cars in their fleets to transport crude from the Bakken shale.

The advisory effectively applies to about 66,500 tank cars—68% of the total commonly used to transport oil and other flammable liquids. Shippers instead should use the roughly 31,000 cars that have been retrofitted to improve safety or were built to higher standards.

The call to get the older tanker cars off the rails drew immediate criticism as too weak.

“Making it voluntary is not going far enough,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) told Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing. Mr. Foxx assured her that the federal government was moving as quickly as possible to issue new rules.

The American Petroleum Institute said the industry had been working to upgrade tank cars for three years, and that during the next year “about 60% of railcars will be state-of-the- art, which is part of a long-term comprehensive effort to improve accident prevention, mitigation and emergency response.”

The trade association representing railcar builders and car-leasing companies said the advisory doesn’t go far enough toward new standards for tank-car construction and retrofitting the existing car fleet.

“With regulatory certainly, the car industry can get working” on retrofits right away, said Thomas Simpson, president of the Railway Supply Institute in Washington, D.C.

Calling Bakken crude shipments “an imminent hazard,” the agency also issued an emergency order Wednesday requiring railroads operating trains carrying more than one million gallons of Bakken crude the oil—about 35 carloads—to notify state officials about the movement of these trains. Trains transporting oil typically include at least 100 cars.

Railroads haven’t historically liked to disclose the routes or contents of their hazardous-material shipments even to the communities they travel through. But the Association of American Railroads, which represents the country’s big freight railroads, said its members will “do all they can to comply with the Transportation Department’s Emergency Order.”

State and local officials have complained that they haven’t been told about crude shipments, which have been rising rapidly. About 715,000 barrels of Bakken crude are being shipped by rail each day, according to the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, or almost 10% of all the oil pumped in the U.S.

A spokesman for  Berkshire Hathaway Inc. ‘s BNSF Railway said it routinely provides information to interested state agencies and emergency responders about the hazardous materials on its routes. He said BNSF also “believes that promulgation of a federal tank-car standard will provide much needed certainty for shippers and improved safety and response time for all first responders.”

The Canadian Transport Ministry last month gave railcar owners 30 days to stop using the roughly 5,000 least crash-resistant tank cars.

Regulators have been grappling with the rising amounts of crude oil being shipped across the country. A fiery derailment in Quebec last summer killed 47 people; more recently, crashes and derailments in Alabama, North Dakota and Virginia have involved fire and explosions.

Federal investigators suspect that crude from the Bakken shale is more combustible than oil from other regions.

A Wall Street Journal analysis in February found that Bakken oil was very flammable and contained several times the level of combustible gases as oil from elsewhere.

The Bakken oil field has grown quickly, producing more than a million barrels a day and outpacing the capacity of pipelines. Companies have increasingly relied on railroads to transport the oil to refineries on the coasts.

In February, railroads said they would slow down oil trains to no more than 40 miles an hour in urban areas and try to route these trains around high-risk areas. But a crude train that derailed in Lynchburg, Va., last week was traveling at only 24 miles an hour. Its cargo didn’t explode, but leaking oil burned in the James River.

—Betsy Morris and Bob Tita contributed to this article
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