Image courtesy of Norfolk Southern

Federal regulators and the rail industry said Friday they have adopted new voluntary measures to make transporting crude safer.

The new measures include better access by crews to emergency braking systems and lower speed limits in or near some cities.

“Safety is our top priority, and we have a shared responsibility to make sure crude oil is transported safely from origin to destination,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

A month ago, regulators met with representatives of the rail and petroleum industries to discuss safely improvements.

Last July, a derailment and explosion of a train carrying volatile Bakken crude killed 47 poeple in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

A series of derailments in the U.S. following the Quebec disaster gave more urgency to new safety measures.

“Most of the new rules, scheduled to be in place by July 1, hammered out by the Transportation Department and the Association of American Railroads apply to trains with at least 20 carloads of crude,” the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Railroads agreed to reduce speed limits to 40 miles an hour for crude-oil trains with a least one older car traveling in any high-risk areas.

Currently crude trains use a speed limit of 50 mph.

“The rail industry has also agreed to add technology enabling crews to apply emergency brakes from both ends of the train, allowing the train to stop more quickly. Railroads will also start using new routes around high-risk areas, as determined by a risk-management system,” the Wall Street Journal said.


Leave a Reply