Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NTSB Holds Rail Safety Forum

 The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded its forum titled, "Rail Safety: Transportation of Crude Oil and Ethanol" today. 
The two-day event addressed rail safety, specific to the transportation of crude oil and ethanol. Crude oil and ethanol transportation by rail has seen phenomenal growth in North America over the last decade, altering the way these flammable liquids are transported. Trains made up predominately, if not entirely, of crude oil and ethanol cars, consisting of DOT-111 general-purpose tank cars and many thousands of barrels of liquid, have become increasingly common. 

A number of rail accidents, both in the United States and Canada, involving dedicated trains or large blocks of flammable liquid tank cars, have highlighted the vulnerabilities of the DOT-111 tank car and the need for comprehensive risk mitigation and emergency response strategies. The severe consequences resulting from the release of flammable liquids have underscored areas of concern identified in recent NTSB safety recommendations. 

The NTSB invited researchers, crude oil and ethanol shippers, tank car builders, railroad carriers, emergency responders, and federal regulatory agencies to discuss the safety of crude oil and ethanol transportation by railroad. The invited panelists provided presentations about current and proposed initiatives affecting these issues. Panelists also discussed ways to reduce the consequences from accidents involving flammable liquids through tank car design, railroad operations, and emergency preparedness.
The forum panels included:
  • Tank Car Design, Construction and Crashworthiness
  • Rail Operations and Approaches to Risk Management
  • Emergency Response to Tank Car Releases of Crude Oil and Ethanol
  • Federal Oversight and Industry Initiatives Related to Crude Oil and Ethanol
  • The forum opened with a brief review of past crude oil and ethanol railroad accidents, including those investigated by the NTSB and Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
A webcast of the April 22 session can be viewed here

Source: NTSB

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