Hazardous Materials: Improving the Safety of Railroad Tank Car Transportation of Hazardous Materials
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), is amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations to prescribe enhanced safety measures for rail transportation of poison inhalation hazard (PIH) materials, including interim design standards for railroad tank cars. Pending validation and implementation of the crashworthiness performance standard proposed in the NPRM issued under this docket on April 1, 2008, the rule mandates commodity-specific improvements in safety features and design standards for newly manufactured DOT specification tank cars. The rule also adopts a 50 mph speed restriction for loaded rail tank cars transporting PIH materials; an improved top fittings performance standard; an allowance to increase the gross weight of tank cars that meet the enhanced standards; and adoption of the industry standard for normalized steel in certain tank cars. The interim standards established in this rule will enhance the accident survivability of PIH tank cars when compared to existing regulations while providing tank car owners continued flexibility in car selection. Adoption of this interim standard will ensure the ongoing availability of tank cars while PHMSA and FRA complete research and testing on advanced tank car design to validate and implement a more stringent performance standard.
74 FR 1769