Thursday, July 02, 2009

Italian Railways suspends GATX rail cars nationwide

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Ferrovie dello Stato (Italian Railways, or FS) Thursday suspended use nationwide of rail cars owned by GATX Corp. FS issued a statement by email, saying the suspension will remain in place until Chicago-based GATX provides certified information on its fleet.

Though no immediate reason was offered, the move appears to have been prompted by the June 29 accident in Viareggio, Italy, caused by axle failure on a tank car carrying liquefied gas, causing a derailment that killed at least 18.

GATX Rail Austria, which owns the tank cars involved in the accident, says it does not know the cause of the explosion.

Italian Transport Minister Altero Matteoli said a small crack and traces of rust had been found in the axle of the car that derailed, causing other cars to derail as they passed through the center of Viareggio.