Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Irving Oil sets tank car conversion plan

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Saint John, New Brunswick-based Irving Oil Ltd. announced plans Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, to voluntarily convert its older DOT-111 tank cars used in crude-by-rail (CBR) business—which has soared in recent years—to meet higher recommended safety standards by the end of April.

Irving Oil also will ask its suppliers to adhere to these standards—Association of American Railroads (AAR) CPC-1232—by the end of the year, President and CEO Paul Browning said in a statement. In fact, said Browning, "We have made substantial progress in converting our fleet of crude oil railcars to meet this enhanced standard," adding that 88% of Irving Oil's fleet already complies with the standard. AAR specification CPC-1232 recommends that DOT-111 tank cars include reinforcements and enhancements that have been reported to reduce the risk of product loss if they are involved in derailments. All DOT 111 tank cars built since October 2011 adhere to CPC-1232; the AAR as well as Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is now calling for even tougher standards.

Early last month, 19 cars and one locomotive in a 122-car CN train carrying crude oil in DOT 111 cars derailed and caught fire near Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, en route to an Irving Oil refinery in Moncton, N.B. No injuries occurred.

The derailment and explosion last July in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, which killed 47 people, also involved DOT-111 tank cars being hauled by short line Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, carrying crude oil destined for an Irving Oil refinery.