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Rail Industry Ignored Warnings that the Tank Cars Involved in Quebec Were Unsafe

Rail Industry Ignored Warnings that the Tank Cars Involved in Quebec Were Unsafe

It turns out that both US and Canadian regulators have been warning for years that the type of rail car involved in the fatal derailment and explosion in Quebec on 6th July is far more prone to rupturing in accidents than other models available.

The rail car, known as the DOT-111, is produced by several manufacturers, and very popular, carrying most of the hazardous waste that is transported around North America by rail. Unfortunately the rail industry has persistently opposed any plans proposed by rail safety agencies to force retrofits on all the cars in order to make reduce the risk of leaks and fires during accidents.

Deborah Hersman, the chairman of the NTSB, said that “during a number of accident investigations over a period of years, the NTSB has noted that DOT-111 tank cars have a high incidence of tank failures during accidents.”

In June 2009 the NTSB led an investigation into a derailment in Illinois that killed one person, and concluded that inherent flaws in the design of the DOT-111 had probably worsened the spill, and that other rail tanks car models are designed to carry high pressure cargo and have thicker shells, and more protection in order to reduce the risk of leaks.

Related article: Rail v. Pipelines: No Safe Bet for Oil

The NTSB wrote that “of the 15 derailed DOT-111 tank cars that piled up in this accident, 13 cars lost product from head and shell breaches or through damaged valves and fittings, or a combination of the two. This represents an overall failure rate of 87 percent and illustrates the continued inability of DOT-111 tank cars to withstand the forces of accidents.”

The NTSB then went on to suggest that all DOT-111s be issued with a retrofit that would increase their security during accidents, and that if a retrofit was not possible then the model should be phased out.

The NTSB states that around 69% of all rail tank cars used in the US are DOT-111s, and Denis Lebel, the Canadian Transport Minister, has said that in Canada DOT-111s make up 70% of the rail tank cars.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



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  • Hugh Scott on July 10 2013 said:
    Why the hell is nothing being said about the lives lost it seems like it never happened you people are only talking about dot 111 rail cars an obviously money issue someone wants to make a fortune by phasing out cars and forcing the implementation of a better type of car or perhaps an oil pipeline ....wouldn't now be time to slip that idea in.
    Wouldn't now bethetime tobetalking about these explosive or toxic chemicals from going through (directly through towns with unsuspecting towns cities) another instance of putting huge corporate profits over the lives of uninformed families!!!

    Shameful it's hardly even been news worthy sick make them pay !!!!
    Dump it on an employee Bernhardt should fry!!!
  • mark chambers on July 09 2013 said:
    Oh, that makes me feel a whole better now.

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