November 30, 2015

Ethanol returning to U.S. rails


Sinking lease rates, weak crude prices and tough new safety measures for transporting oil by rail have spurred a resurgence in hauling ethanol on the U.S. rail network, as some train companies convert tank cars to carry more corn-based biofuels. The trend emerged in the past six months and marks a shift in a years-long [...]

Oil train safety must remain a priority


MINNESOTA – Lack of action during this year’s legislative session doesn’t mean nothing’s being done regarding rail safety as oil trains keep passing through the state and region. About 3,000 firefighters and other emergency responders from 80 departments throughout the state have been trained to respond quickly to oil-train-related disasters, and the Minnesota Pollution Control [...]

Latest tank car, rail inspections turn up 62 defects


Another round of targeted tank car and rail inspections in New York found 62 defects, including one “critical” safety defect that required immediate corrective action, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday. The inspections are part of the governor’s efforts to address the safety of crude-by-rail shipments. State and federal teams examined 524 tank cars and [...]

BNSF charging lower rates for new crude-by-rail cars


If you want to carry crude oil in an older railroad car, it’s going to cost you. Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway, the largest U.S. crude-by-rail carrier, is offering lower rates to lug oil in cars that meet the latest federal specifications issued in May. That means the vast majority of cars riding the rails today, [...]

N.J. Senate prepares for crude oil rail disaster


Trenton, N.J. – While admitting that their hands are largely tied, New Jersey lawmakers on Monday, June 15, took steps to better prepare the state in the event of a catastrophic oil train accident. “There is not a whole lot we can do to regulate rails going through our area because they are primarily regulated by [...]

Emergency order sought from Foxx after derailment


Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are on the scene today of a BNSF Railway Co. crude-oil train that derailed and caught fire yesterday morning in Heimdal, N.D. The BNSF train consisted of 109 total cars, 107 of which were loaded with crude oil. Two buffer cars were loaded with [...]

‘Bomb train’ derails in ND, village evacuated


A train carrying crude oil through Wells County, North Dakota derailed May 6. At least six rail cars have caught fire, sending thick, black plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. The village of Heimdal and nearby farms were evacuated. The BNSF Railway oil tanker derailed around 7:30 a.m. local time, Wells County Emergency Manager [...]

N.D. lawmakers approve rail safety pilot program

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota lawmakers agreed Monday to spend more than $500,000 on a rail safety pilot program proposed in the wake of a fiery oil train derailment near Casselton in 2013, with some saying it doesn’t go far enough. Lawmakers adopted a scaled-down version of a program proposed by the Public Service Commission [...]

W. Va. train derailment sends oil tanker into river


MOUNT CARBON, W.Va. – Fires burned for hours after a train carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil derailed in a snowstorm in West Virginia, sending a fireball into the sky and threatening the water supply of nearby residents, authorities and residents said Tuesday. Officials evacuated hundreds of families and shut down two water [...]

Grain piles up as trains move N.D. oil


FARGO, N.D. – The furious pace of energy exploration in North Dakota is creating a crisis for farmers whose grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses and slower production for breakfast cereal giants like General Mills. The backlog is [...]