By John Cooper, Railroad Injury Lawyer
Over the past few years I have written about flawed railroad tank cars that rupture when a train derails, causing spills and explosions.
The faulty cars were linked to a series of disasters including the explosions in Quebec, Canada in which a runaway train exploded, killing almost 50 people in a remote town.
Railroads have moved to replace the defective DOT-111 tankers with a new tanker that’s meant to be more robust. The bad news is, the strategy does not seem to be working. Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported on how the new workhorses of the railroad – called CPC-1232s have been involved in a string of recent accidents and have not fared well.
As the crude by-rail industry continues to grow, the CPC-1232s have been produced en masse. The Wall Street Journal cited four recent accidents which are a “sign that the new tanker cars are still prone to rupture in a derailment.” The fact the quick fix does not seem to have worked may add impetus for rules to reduce the risks inherent in shipping crude by rail.
The article cited derailments in West Virginia and Illinois over the last few months and two in Ontario, Canada, that led to explosions, as evidence that the more robust tankers aren’t doing the job they were intended to do.
“Each train was hauling the new cars which weren’t able to prevent the crude from escaping , leaking into one river and exploding into several giant fireballs,” reported The Wall Street Journal.
Claude Gravelle, a Canadian lawmaker from Ontario, said the new cars are not robust enough. The expansion of so-called “fracking” activities has increased the amount of oil transported on the railroads from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and from West Virginia.
Last year the U.S. Transportation Department proposed new rules for tanker cars that carry crude oil. Two of three options proposed making new cars stronger and retrofitting existing cars.
Accidents such as the one last year in Lynchburg, Virginia, when a crude train exploded, have highlighted the dangers posed to railroad workers and railroad communities from these inflammable trains. We saw the accident that experts had warned about for so long happening in Canada. The big concern is that the steps to improve tank car safety have not gone far enough. If you have been hurt in a railroad accident, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at 866-455-6657.