Irving Oil reported that by Apr. 30 it will complete the conversion of its proprietary fleet of crude oil rail tank cars to Association of American Railroads' (AAR) recommended specifications for DOT-111 railcars constructed after Oct. 1, 2011. This will require the voluntary removal of older-model railcars from service.
The AAR specifications recommend that DOT-111 tank cars built after October 2011 be constructed with reinforcements and enhancements reported to reduce the risk of product loss if these tank cars are involved in derailments. Irving will also advise suppliers and marketers of crude oil of its adoption of AAR's enhanced standard, and will ask for their adherence by no later than Dec. 31, for crude oil tank cars servicing Irving.
Irving has so far brought 88% of its fleet into compliance. Over the next 10 weeks, the company will empty its remaining older-model rail cars so they can be cleaned and removed from service. By April 30, Irving’s in-service proprietary DOT-111 rail fleet in Canada and the US will consist entirely of newer-model rail cars built in 2012-2013, all of which will meet AAR's enhanced specifications.
The announcement follows recommendations made Jan. 23 by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) relating to enhanced protection standards for rail cars.
The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) last year proposed safety improvements including enhanced tank head and shell puncture resistance systems as well as top fittings protection exceeding current DOT-111 requirement tank cars (OGJ Online, Sept. 5, 2013).