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May 7, 2015

New Standards for Crude Oil Rail Cars Announced by USDOT

On May 1, 2015, new rules for rail shipments were announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”). The final rule will address many of the National Transportation Safety Board’s (“NTSB”) recommendations regarding safety concerns for crude oil shipments. Of biggest import will be the phase-out of most of the tank cars currently used for crude oil shipments.

For high-hazard flammable trains (“HHFTs”) with 20 or more flammable liquid tank cars in a row or 35 dispersed through the train, new DOT-117 specification cars must be used or existing tank cars retrofitted with the same key components as the new DOT-117. As a result, DOT-111 rail cars used for crude shipments must be replaced within 3 years and CPC-1232s within 5 years.

USDOT will also require high-hazard flammable unit trains (“HHFUT”) to be operated with electronically controlled pneumatic (“ECP”) braking systems by 2023. Those carrying crude will require ECP by 2021.

In addition, the new rule will restrict operating speeds, require routing analysis, and implement sampling and testing for crude shipments to verify compliance with packaging requirements.

The new rule, to be codified at 49 CFR §§ 171-174, and 179, will be effective 60 days after it is published in the federal register.

Read the new rule at:


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