Transport Canada Toughens Crude-By-Rail Safety Regulations

By | April 28, 2015

(THE CANADIAN GOVT TAKES ACTION!): Trains carrying 20 cars or more of crude oil or ethanol must not exceed 50 mph under a new directive issued by Transport Canada on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, and that limit may be lowered for some locations after specific risk assessments for particular urban population and sensitive assets such as water sources.

Unmodified older DOT-111 (pre-CPC-1232) tank cars will be banned from Canadian rails after May 1, 2017. The industry’s so-far voluntary CPC-1232 specification that has governed tank car fabrication since 2011 is being adopted as regulatory law, though that will be eventually superseded by whatever new standard emerges from an ongoing U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)/Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) rulemaking process.

Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt also announced that the country’s established Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAP) will be extended to cover trains with just a single carload of crude oil, ethanol, gasoline, diesel, or aviation fuel. Such ERAPs imply the pre-positioning of emergency response assets and trained personnel along the entire route and require the level of cooperation with emergency responders that municipalities in both Canada and the U.S. are demanding.

The new regulations are a response to interim recommendations emerging from the investigation into the July 2013 calamity at Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Forty-seven people died when a runaway train carrying crude oil exploded upon derailment in the town’s center. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has yet to publish its final report on the event that disrupted the unfettered growth of crude-by-rail since 2011.

The new regulations were detailed in an Emergency Directive and a companion Ministerial Order. Raitt said Canada’s simpler regulatory process allows the country to act immediately with respect to tank car standards while waiting for the FRA and PHMSA to complete the consultations and deliberations required by U.S. regulatory practice….

(read more) from Railway Age

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