Standards - Tank Car Resource Center

STANDARDS

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Tank Car Standards in North America

THE RSI-CTC PROVIDES INFORMATION TO REGULATORS AND LEGISLATORS FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE RULEMAKING PROCESS

Tank car standards are updated after reviews of performance data conclude that new tank car standards will improve the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail. In recent history, the industry focused on improving the performance of tank cars used to transport flammable liquids (primarily crude oil and ethanol). Standards are particularly important for regulated hazardous materials, or “HazMat’s,” that fall into two key categories: flammable liquids and toxic inhalation hazards.

Flammable Liquids Tank Car Standards

THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS (AAR) ENHANCES THE DESIGN OF CLASS-111 TANK CARS TRANSPORTING ETHANOL AND PETROLEUM CRUDE OIL

In August 2011, the AAR Tank Car Committee adopted an innovative design standard for a Class-111 tank car transporting ethanol and petroleum crude oil. Known as an “enhanced Class-111 tank car” or a “CPC-1232 tank car,” the new standard improved the survivability of the tank when involved in a train accident by the use of either a thicker tank shell and heads or the use of an 11-gauge metal jacket encapsulating the tank shell and heads, the use of normalized steel, head protection, and top fittings protection. The requirement took effect for cars ordered after October 1, 2011. The basis for these improvements was the result of an analysis of design features made possible by the RSI/AAR Tank Car Safety Research and Test Project. Railway Supply Institute members built approximately 55,000 tank cars to this voluntary standard, investing $8 billion.


Read the full text of the AAR interchange standard for CPC-1232 M-1002 Chapter 2 Revision 9/2011, that the industry voluntarily implemented in September 2011.


IN 2015, RSI-CTC ADVOCATES FOR NEW FEDERAL TANK CAR REQUIREMENTS

Notwithstanding the industry’s voluntary adoption of the enhanced Class-111 standard in October 2011, three and a half years later, in May 2015, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule to require the use a new Class-117 tank car only if the tank car was used to transport a flammable liquid and the tank car was operating in a High-Hazard Flammable Train. Because shippers (offerors) do not assemble or makeup trains, the shippers could not determine what type of tank car to use because the shipper lacked insight with respect to the types of hazardous materials in tank cars that would arrive at a rail yard at the same point-in-time as their shipment, nor determine how a railroad world manage the assembly and makeup of train based on the inventory and final destination PHMSA of tank cars in the rail yard. To address this concern, the Railway Supply Institute and AAR proactively worked with Congress on the FAST Act of 2015, described below, which clarified the tank car standard for use in transporting a flammable liquid. Among other significant amendments, the Fast Act established the Class-117 tank car as the minimum federal standard for use in flammable liquid service.

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New Law: The FAST Act

IN DECEMBER 2015, CONGRESS PASSED THE FAST ACT, WHICH REVISED THE SCOPE OF THE STANDARDS PUBLISHED IN PHMSA DOCKET HM-251 FOR TANK CARS TRANSPORTING FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS

Title VII of the FAST Act expanded the design requirements to each tank car transporting a flammable liquid irrespective of train composition (i.e., manifest, HHFT, or HHFUT) and set specific phase-out dates for Class-111 tank cars, including the enhanced Class-111 tank car, by commodity. Congress prioritized ethanol and petroleum crude oil in the phase-out schedule since such products are most likely operated in unit trains. Title VII also mandated the retrofit of each tank car with a metal jacket and with ½-inch thick thermal ceramic blankets and required that the legacy Class-111 be retrofitted to meet specific top fittings protection requirements.

As a result of the FAST Act, car owner-lessors, shippers, and the railroads have a clear understanding of the requirements for implementing the new innovative design requirements for tank cars transporting flammable liquids.

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Tank Car Videos

SEE ANIMATED VIDEOS OF TANK CAR TECHNOLOGIES IN ACTION

RSICTC members spent decades researching and developing new technologies to advance tank car standards, including: tank shells, tank jackets, head shields, thermal protection systems, top fittings, bottom outlet valves and others. The following videos provide 60-second overviews of the technology that can be found on new DOT 117 standard tank cars.

TANK CAR TECHNOLOGY

HEAD SHIELD

TANK SHELL

THERMAL PROTECTION

TANK JACKET

BOTTOM OUTLET VALVE & TOP FITTING PROTECTION

Toxic Inhalation Hazards (TIH)

New Proposals for TIH

RSICTC IS WORKING WITH INDUSTRY STAKEHOLDERS TO ADVANCE STANDARDS OF TANK CARS IN TIH SERVICE

Over the last decade, there has been significant, ongoing research to develop strategies for improving railroad tank cars so they can maintain tank integrity under more severe accident conditions. Beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2009, Dow Chemical Company, Union Pacific Railroad and Union Tank Car Company assembled a joint project team to drive forward a holistic process for the development of a next generation rail tank car. This work was performed under the Next Generation Railroad Tank Car (NGRTC) Program and completed in cooperation with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Transport Canada and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The NGRTC program developed a database of both full-scale impact testing on tank cars and tank heads as well as a significant database on characterization of tank car materials and laboratory scale component tests. An additional effort in the NGRTC Program was the development and validation of detailed finite-element tank impact models and tank car steel constitutive and failure models that can be used to accurately predict the puncture resistance under different impact conditions. During this same time period, the Chlorine Institute (CI) commissioned a series of investigations to quantify and enhance the puncture resistance of tank cars carrying hazardous materials. [read more=”Read More” less=”Read Less”]

Subsequent to these initiatives, the Advanced Tank Car Collaborative Research Program (ATCCRP) was initiated to coordinate research efforts to enhance the safety and security of rail tank car shipments of toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) materials. The ATCCRP builds on the prior and ongoing research conducted by the NGRTC Program, and the Chlorine Institute tank car safety research, and the RSI-AAR Tank Car Safety Research and Test Project. The ATCCRP is a joint effort composed of the following groups: shippers of tank cars carrying toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) materials (represented by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), CI, and the Fertilizer Institute (TFI)); railroads that transport hazardous materials (represented by the Association of American Railroads (AAR)); and rail tank car builders and lessors (represented by the Railway Supply Institute (RSI)). The latter two groups constitute the RSI-AAR Tank Car Safety Research and Test Project.  In addition, memoranda of cooperation were developed to formalize cooperation agreements between ATCCRP participants and the FRA, TSA and Transport Canada.

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In response to a proposed rulemaking, industry stakeholders (including the RSI) petitioned PHMSA for an interim standard based on “Probability of Release.” Read the proposal.


The Advanced Tank Car Collaborative Research Project improved the industry’s understanding of impacts and puncture behavior during derailments but did not identify any new technical solutions to improve tank car puncture resistance. Read the conclusions.


Based on the ATCCRP Research Conclusions, Industry stakeholders (including the RSI) petitioned PHMSA to make the interim standard (HM-246) a permanent standard for TIH service.


Immediately following the ATCCRP Petition for a Final TIH Specification the AAR petitioned PHMSA for a six-year phase out of the legacy TIH Fleet, including a two-year phase-out of non-normalized TIH tank cars.

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