Railroads seek tank-car upgrades

|By:, SA News Editor

U.S. railroads are asking safety regulators to require that all existing tank cars carrying crude oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids be modified or upgraded to better withstand accidents or be aggressively phased out of service.

Railroads are increasingly worried about potential liability after two crude-by-rail accidents in Quebec last July and in Alabama last week, as crude oil shipments on the major freight railroads have ballooned to a projected 400K carloads this year.

The tank car industry has estimated the cost of retrofitting existing tank cars with steel shields on both ends and metal tank jackets to resist punctures at ~$1B.

Among tank car manufacturers and leasing companies: TRN, ARII, GMT, GE.