Transport Canada orders removal of least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars within 30 days, non-compliant cars within 3 years
Transport Canada is ordering the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars be removed from dangerous goods service within 30 days. These are older cars that have no continuous reinforcement of their bottom shell, said Transport Minister Lisa Raitt. There are roughly 5,000 of these tank cars in North America that must be immediately removed from dangerous goods service in Canada. DOT-111 tank cars were the type involved in the Lac Mégantic derailment and disaster last year. (Earlier post.)
The mandate is one of a set of Transport Canada actions addressing the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s initial recommendations regarding the ongoing investigation into Lac-Mégantic.
On 11 January 2014, Transport Canada proposed a new standard for the DOT‑111 tank car in Canada Gazette, Part I. The changes include thicker steel as well as additional top fitting and head shield protection. DOT-111 tank cars are used for transporting liquid dangerous goods, such as crude oil.
As another one of the newly announced actions, DOT-111 tank cars that do not meet the new January 2014 standard—or any other future standard—must be phased out or refitted within three years.
Industry is already building new tank cars to this standard; approximately 55,000 of them have been ordered, representing nearly half of the current DOT-111 tank car fleet used to transport flammable liquids, such as crude oil.
Other actions include:
Issuance of a Protective Direction requiring Emergency Response Assistance Plans for for trains that have even a single tank car loaded with one of the following flammable liquids transported in large quantity by rail: crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, or ethanol;
Creation of a task force that brings stakeholders such as municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers together to strengthen emergency response capacity across the country; and
Requiring railway companies to reduce the speed of trains carrying dangerous goods and implement other key operating practices.
Transport Canada is also issuing a Ministerial Order that requires railway companies to develop new rules regarding operating practices for the safe transportation of dangerous goods.