Few will forget that horrific day, July 6, 2013, when a crewless, runaway Montreal, Maine & Atlantic crude oil train with five locomotives and 75 loaded DOT-111 tank cars carrying volatile Bakken crude rolled into Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and derailed. The resulting fireballs and explosions (contrary to popular belief, the derailed cars did not explode; their contents ignited after the tanks had been breached) killed 47 people, and a large section of the downtown area was destroyed. The tragedy’s aftermath, as well as accidents involving other CBR trains in the U.S. and Canada, led to a long regulatory process resulting in the stronger DOT 117 tank car as well as several changes to CBR operating regulations.
Author: David C. Lester
Canadian Pacific (CP) reported a record-setting month in the movement of Canadian grain and grain products. In April, CP moved a best-ever monthly total of 2.8 million metric tonnes (MMT) to market, bettering the previous record set in November 2019 by more than 100,000 metric tonnes (MT).
Union Pacific is furloughing the majority of workers at its Jenks Locomotive Facility in North Little Rock, Ark., and temporarily closing the facility. These actions are directly related to the drop in business brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
After the derailment of several trains hauling hazardous materials, namely crude oil, Transport Canada has issued new orders around the speed of these trains, which are now classified as “key trains” and “higher-risk key trains.”
Most of us are aware of the heroic and dedicated work performed around the clock by health care workers and first responders in the daily battle against the coronavirus, which has had its grip on our planet for the past several months. Moreover, many have likely seen various tributes to these front-line workers in the form of neighborhoods around the world singing, playing music, banging pots and pans, and making noise to honor these professionals. The FDNY has even assembled fire trucks at various hospitals and medical centers with emergency lights flashing and sirens blaring.
In West Virginia and Virginia, two Norfolk Southern owned and/or operated rail facilities—a state-financed intermodal terminal near Charleston, W.Va., and the railroad’s shop complex in Roanoke, Va.—have been impacted by closure and layoffs.
Union Pacific recently completed Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation, activating its final track segment. The technology is now implemented on all the company’s federally mandated rail lines, including required passenger train routes. Union Pacific will continue working with partner railroads on their interoperability efforts, ensuring seamless operation onto the company’s tracks.
US Development Group, LLC (through wholly-owned affiliate USD) and Gibson Energy Inc. (Gibson) jointly announced this week an agreement to construct and operate a diluent recovery unit (DRU) near Hardisty, Alberta, Canada. ConocoPhillips Canada has contracted to process 50,000 barrels per day of inlet bitumen blend through the DRU to be shipped by Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern to the U.S.
RAILWAY AGE, NOVEMBER 2019 ISSUE: The U.S. military’s long association with North American railroading exists on several levels. First, railroads fulfilled the military’s crucial need for movement of troops and equipment both at home and abroad, dating back to at least the Civil War. During World War I, the U.S. government assumed operation of the railroads, but the daily operation was still carried out by the roads’ employees. During World War II, U.S. railroads completed the Herculean task of serving not only the military, but the general boom in wartime traffic resulting from a strengthening economy and manufacturing needs generated mainly by the war. The Korean conflict and the Vietnam War also placed significant demands on the railroads, as have more recent conflicts in the Middle East. Also, railroad infrastructure on foreign soil during wartime required professional railroaders to join the military to build and maintain U.S. and Allied railroads near the zones of hot conflict.
Unless rail customers own their own railcars, they either use ones owned by the railroad or they lease them. One of the largest freight car and locomotive lessors is GATX Corp., which serves customers in several areas of the world. When a customer leases freight cars, the lessor expects them to be returned in good condition.