Speed Limits Coming for Crude by Rail

Speed Limits For Crude by Rail
Speed Limits For Crude by Rail

An emergency order issued by the Department of Transportation will demand that certain crude by rail train to slow down in high threat urban areas.

Related: Crude by Rail Up 1700%

The order formalized a previously voluntary limit and will require a  maximum speed of 40 miles an hour for trains hauling crude oil and other flammable liquids. The emergency order defines affected trains as:

  1. 20 or more loaded tank cars in a continuous block or 35 loaded tank cars of class 3 flammable liquid
  2. AND at least one DOT-111 tank car loaded with class 3 flammable liquid
Speed is a factor that may contribute to the severity of a derailment or the derailment itself. Speed can affect the probability of an accident. A lower speed may allow for a brake application to stop a train before a collision, or allow a locomotive engineer to identify a safety problem and stop the train before an accident or derailment occurs.

The DOT points to “gaps in the existing regulatory scheme” as a reason for the new requirements, which go into effect immediately. Companies that don’t comply could face penalties of $105,000.

Movement of crude by rail is highly controversial with many people questioning how safe of the practice for  individuals and the environment.  With production at an all time high, crude by rail will probably escalate as producers must find a way to move their product.

Related: Eagle Ford Crude is Driving Rail Traffic Across South Texas

Read more at fra.dot.gov

Photo: © Dmitry Mizintsev