Category Archives: Derailment

LPG Tank Cars derail in Martinez – could have been a catastrophic event

Derailment in Martinez: the nightmare no one wants

By Roger Straw, The Benicia Independent – 05/01/2018
LPG tank car derailment Martinez 2018-05-01 (KTVU Fox 2 News)

Early this morning, at least two tank cars carrying liquid petroleum gas (LPG) derailed while backing into the Shell Refinery in Martinez, CA.  (See brief KTVU News coverage.)

Thank our lucky stars that those tank cars backing into the refinery did not tip over or leak!  Had they done so, and a spark ignited a fire, the accident might’ve resulted in a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, or “BLEVE” (blɛviː/ BLEV-ee).

Sharon Kelly described a BLEVE this way on DeSmogBlog: “As liquids in a metal tank boil, gasses build up, pressurizing the tank even despite relief valves designed to vent fumes. Tanks finally explode, throwing shrapnel great distances, and spitting out burning liquids that can start secondary blazes.”

BLEVEs were responsible  for the massive degree of destruction and loss of life in Lac Magantic, Canada.  If those Martinez tank cars had caught fire and erupted, the whole Shell Refinery might’ve blown up!  Downtown Martinez, the AMTRAK station, and the 680 freeway might’ve been threatened.

LPG tank car derailment Martinez 2018-05-01 (KTVU News)

Photos of the derailed cars show the 4-digit Hazardous Material Identification Placard: 1075.  The Emergency Response Guidebook, published by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration identifies the code for 1075 on p. 31 as one of the following flammable materials:

Butane, Butylene Isobutane, Isobutylene, Liquefied petroleum gas, LPG, Petroleum gases, liquefied Propane Propylene.

This is EXTREMELY dangerous.  On p. 170 of the Emergency Response Guidebook, emergency responders are cautioned:

In fires involving Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG) (UN1075); Butane, (UN1011); Butylene, (UN1012); Isobutylene, (UN1055); Propylene, (UN1077); Isobutane, (UN1969); and Propane, (UN1978), also refer to BLEVE – SAFETY PRECAUTIONS (Page 368).

BLEVE is defined : “A boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE, /ˈblɛviː/ BLEV-ee) is an explosion caused by the rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid that has reached temperatures above its boiling point.”

Page 368-369 of the Emergency Response Guidebook reads as follows:

BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion)
The following section presents, in a two-page format, background information on BLEVEs and includes a chart that provides important safety-related information to consider when confronted with this type of situation involving Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG), UN1075. LPGs include the following flammable gases: Butane, UN1011; Butylene, UN1012; Isobutylene, UN1055; Propylene, UN1077; Isobutane, UN1969; and Propane, UN1978.

What are the main hazards from a BLEVE?
The main hazards from a propane or LPG BLEVE are:
– fire
– thermal radiation from the fire
– blast
– projectiles
The danger from these decreases as you move away from the BLEVE centre. The furthest reaching hazard is projectiles.

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Train tank cars carrying LPG derail near Shell refinery in Martinez

Repost from KTVU.com Fox News 2, Oakland, CA
[Editor: This derailment of tank cars carrying Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) could have resulted in extreme hazardous consequences.  See my analysis here. – RS]

Freight train derails near Shell refinery in Martinez


[Editor: apologies for the advertisement at start of this video… – RS]

By: Leigh Martinez, MAY 01 2018 05:22AM PDT, VIDEO POSTED: MAY 01 2018 05:13AM PDT, UPDATED: MAY 01 2018 06:55AM PDT

MARTINEZ, Calif. – A freight train derailed in Martinez early Tuesday causing two tankers to lean off the tracks.  It is believed the train was backing into the Shell refinery when it went off the tracks at Shell and Marina Vista avenues.

Two cars have their wheels off the tracks and were leaning into other rail lines.

This was not a hazmat situation because there is no sign of leakage and no injuries were reported.

The rail line runs next to Amtrak and Union Pacific lines. There was no immediate word if those commuter trains are affected.

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Crude oil tank cars derail in Texarkana – no spill or explosion

Repost from KSLA 12 News

Crews work to clear Texarkana train derailment

By Brett Kaprelian, Digital Content Producer, April 22nd 2018, 4:35 pm PDT

KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) -Crews are working to clear a train derailment in Texarkana, Texas, Sunday afternoon.

It happened around 11:30 a.m. at the Union Pacific Texarkana Rail Yard.

A Union Pacific spokesman said the southbound train that derailed had 12 tank cars carrying crude oil from Canada down to Beaumont, Texas.

Nine cars are on their side and three are standing upright.

No injuries or leaks have been reported.

Crews are on site trying to clear the trains from the roadway.

According to the Union Pacific spokesman, the train tracks have been damaged by the derailment. Crews will work through the night to clear the scene and fix the tracks.

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