Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx held a press conference today at 10:00. He was accompanied by FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo, PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman and the DGAC. Secretary Foxx announced that the Department of Transportation will be issuing a comprehensive rule making proposal (NPRM) to improve the safe transportation of large quantities of flammable materials by rail, in particular crude oil and ethanol. The NPRM focuses on new operational requirements for “high hazard flammable trains”. Trains will fall into this category if they are comprised of 20 or more carloads of flammable liquids.
Some of the items covered by the NPRM include restricting speeds, doing risk assessments of routes, notifying state emergency response commissions, enhanced tank car standards and requiring higher standards for classifying and testing mined gases and liquids. It also proposes to phase out the use of DOT-111 tank cars within two years unless they have been retrofitted with new tank car design standards for shipments of PG 1 flammable liquids that includes most crude oil. Three options have been laid out for improving the design requirements of tank cars that are built after October 1, 2015. They include proposing thicker, more puncture resistant shells, enhanced braking and rollover protection.
Secretary Foxx announced they are releasing a report that includes testing results from Operation Classification and indicated that the study has confirmed Bakken crude oil is on the high end of volatility compared to other crude oils.
Additional Rule Making Proposal
Operation Safe Delivery Update