WASHINGTON – It’s only been a few weeks since Canadian policy-makers announced safety changes to rail cars, but elements within the industry already want to go further.
An industry association in the U.S. is recommending all new oil-carrying train cars be equipped with a thicker, puncture-proof metal shell, taller shields on each end and thermal insulation.
The request comes in a letter today to the U.S. transportation secretary from the Railway Supply Institute, the main group representing companies that build freight trains and supply railways.
Thomas Simpson, the institute’s president, says its previous policy was to equip each new tank car with some of those measures, but it now wants all three key changes made mandatory.
Simpson says the adjustments could cost his members but would be good for the industry in the long run, amid concerns about safety given the skyrocketing use of rail to transport oil.
Just last month, Canada’s Transport Minister Lisa Raitt promised the government would formalize standards for new tank-car construction that were adopted by the industry in October 2011.
Regulators in both countries are consulting with industry groups about imposing stricter standards on the industry in the wake of accidents including the disaster in Lac-Megantic, Que.