The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

February 21, 2014

Railroads make their own moves to improve safety of crude transports

WASHINGTON - As they await new federal guidelines on the shipment of crude oil, railroads are taking their own steps to improve the safety of the shipments.

On Thursday, BNSF, the nation’s largest hauler of crude oil in trains, said it would purchase 5,000 new, better protected tank cars exclusively for such shipments.

It’s an unusual move. Railroads generally don’t own tank cars; rather, shippers lease them from freight car manufacturers or financial institutions.

Roxanne Butler, a BNSF spokeswoman, said the voluntary move would help “provide tank car builders a head start on tank car design and production, even as the Department of Transportation, railroads and shippers continue to engage in the formal rulemaking process.“

BNSF, based in Fort Worth, Texas, and owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, isn’t the only rail company to act to protect a growing business.

Earlier this month, Canada’s two largest railroads, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, said they would charge 5 percent more to ship oil in older, less protected tank cars, known as DOT-111As. Both carriers have extensive operations in the U.S.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been warning about the cars’ vulnerability in derailments for many years.

In a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce this week, Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison said that the older cars should be removed from crude oil service immediately.

“Don’t wait for a study,“ he said. “We know the facts.“

The cars have failed catastrophically in several derailments of crude oil trains since last summer. In July, one such train rolled down a hill and came off the tracks in the center of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, igniting a deadly and destructive fire that killed 47 people.

More recent derailments in Alabama, North Dakota and Pennsylvania caused major spills or fires, but no injuries or fatalities.

Worried state and local officials have been counting on the federal government to protect their communities from disaster, but it could be another year before new regulations on tank cars become final.

Paul Reistrup, a retired railroad executive who was Amtrak’s president in the 1970s, said the industry is right to take a proactive approach to the problem.

“You have to be Johnny-on-the-spot,“ he said. “The safety of the cars is very important.“

 

1
Text Only
News
  • Selinsgrove man dies when tractor flips in Chapman Township

    PORT TREVORTON — A 57-year-old Selinsgrove man died Tuesday evening when the farm tractor he was driving overturned and pinned him beneath it, according to Snyder County Coroner Bruce Hummel.

    July 29, 2014

  • VanKirk 'Real hero' of World War II dies

    ATLANTA, Ga. — Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Monday of natural causes in the retirement home where he lived in Georgia. He was 93.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mayor: Rental ban for drug dealers a success

    SUNBURY — A controversial landlord-tenant ordinance passed by the City Council in 2012 has become one of Sunbury’s “better success stories,” Mayor David Persing said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Mom cited for allegedly leaving baby in car for 12 minutes

    LEWISBURG — A summary citation carrying a maximum fine of $127.50 was filed Tuesday against a Lewisburg woman accused of leaving her 10-month-old baby unattended for 12 minutes in a car in Union County on July 21.

    July 29, 2014

  • Line Mountain district, teachers $1.2M apart in contract talks

    MANDATA — Separate proposals from the Line Mountain School District and its teachers union are $1.2 million apart and not getting any closer, according to Benjamin L. Pratt, the district’s labor counsel at the CGA Law Firm.

    July 29, 2014

  • Road work: Expect traffic delays on Route 54 near Danville

    RIVERSIDE — Motorists in the Danville-Riverside area are advised that a 2.2-mile micro-surfacing project on Route 54 from Riverside borough to Boyd Station in Northumberland County will begin this afternoon.

    July 29, 2014

  • Blood trail leads to stabbing suspect in Montour County

    DANVILLE — Borough police followed a trail of blood along a sidewalk, up a staircase and down a hallway that led to a moaning woman who they say knifed another woman Sunday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • Spencer_Maria1.jpg Maria Spencer charged with murdering her ex-husband

    SELINSGROVE — On Monday, a little more than two years after Frank Spencer was executed outside his Columbia County home, his former wife and her father were charged in his murder and the attempted homicide of Spencer’s girlfriend.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Opponents, supporters to discuss clean air rules

    DENVER — Hundreds of people are expected to attend public hearings this week in a handful of cities across the U.S. to tell federal regulators what they think of proposed rules to cut pollution from power plants.

    July 29, 2014

  • House-Senate negotiators approve $17B VA bill

    WASHINGTON  — House and Senate negotiators have approved a $17 billion compromise bill to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs and reform a program scandalized by veterans’ long waits for health care and VA workers falsifying records to cover up delays.

    July 29, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.