BNSF began a move Wednesday to have all of its oil trains reduce speeds to 35 mph through all municipalities with 100,000 or more more residents. The speed reduction is temporarily in place until its customers phase out DOT-111 tanks cars from service, BNSF spokesman Mike Trevino said Saturday. Phasing out of the older cars, which will be replaced by CPC-1232 railcars to meet federal safety standards, is expected to begin in May, and BNSF hopes to complete the process by the end of the year. When that happens, BNSF will reconsider the speeds.
The shipping companies, not BNSF, own the cars, so the railway company has to wait on its customers to make the transition to the newer cars. The move was a voluntary part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Trevino said....
....Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, said it was good to see BNSF taking proactive action to address railroad and safety weaknesses, though there are other measures he would like to see rail companies consider.
“I think many of our rural communities would also argue that their lives are no less at risk,” he said.
The only city in North Dakota that would fall under the reduced-speed measure is Fargo..... more here
By Mary Papenfuss Global Research 3/29/15
....“These are clearly ‘bomb trains,’” attorney Jared Margolis, author of the Runaway Risks report, told WhoWhatWhy. Yet despite the recent spate of fiery derailments, “Federal regulatory agencies have allowed this dangerous increase in oil-train traffic with little to no environmental review and a complete lack of adequate response plans.”
The Department of Transportation hasn’t conducted a formal review of the potential environmental harms or risk to public safety from the drastic increase in use of oil trains to move flammable crude across the country — mostly in aging tank cars that lack vital safety features, Margolis said. And even though the DOT is phasing out the older tank cars, even newly designed and tougher tank cars are prone to puncturing. .... more here