The Federal Railroad Administration, in the interest of public safety, has issued an Emergency Order that requires all trains that are transporting large quantities of Class 3 flammable liquids while traveling through certain high-threat urban areas (HTUAs) abide by a maximum authorized operating speed limit of 40 mph. The order was deemed necessary in light of the recent accidents involving trains transporting large quantities of petroleum crude oil and ethanol. The increasing reliance on railroads to transport voluminous quantities of hazardous materials was also a contributing factor in the release of this order, which is effective immediately. Railroads need to complete implementation no later than April 24, 2015.
According to this Emergency Order, an affected train is defined as one that contains:
- 20 or more loaded tank cars in a continuous block — or — 35 or more loaded tank cars of Class 3 flammable liquids
- At least 1 DOT Specification 111 tank car (including those built in accordance with AAR Casualty Prevention Circular 1232) loaded with a Class 3 flammable liquid