In news over this weekend, the DEDICATED Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCL) tells global reporters that it has awarded a Rs 50.8bn ($US 79.4m) contract to a joint venture of GMR Infrastructure and SEW Infrastructure.
The joint venture will work under this contract towards building a 402km section of the 1,840 some kilometers of the Eastern Dedicated Rail Freight Corridor. That amount does not, of course, cover the entire capital cost of the 402 km section.
The double-track section section of the eastern project is being funded by the World Bank.
DFCCL’s senior managers hope now to complete both lines sometime before year’s end 2019. Other observers suggest perhaps by 2021.
Under development since last fall, the AskRail mobile phone application gives local responders essential train commodity hazardous information even without train on board train information available from the train crew or if it is difficult to reach local BNSF train offices or train dispatchers.
Demo given by the BNSF railroad in Chicago.
A French language version to be released soon for Canada.
Other rail carriers can also use the software application developed in part with RailLinc technical assistance.
Software use will now become part of hazmat training provided by the rail companies.
Other carriers besides BNSF can choose to use the application.
In response to growing community concerns surrounding crude oil train movements, BNSF has announced an aggressive track inspection and tank car inspection program.
BNSF spokesman Mike Trevino has told reporters in Illinois that the railway company has tightened its oversight of tank cars and reduced its tolerance for when potential wheel defects would lead the company to pull a car out of service.
The Texas headquartered freight railroad in late March slowed crude oil trains to 35 mph in all cities with more than 100,000 people.
It also increased track inspections near waterways.
It stepped up efforts to find and repair defective wheels.
“We wanted to take some operations steps to further drive safe operations while we waited for the new (tank car) standards” (finally ordered by the federal government in early May).
Most rail tank cars are not owned by the railroads, but by the shippers and oil receivers who lease them to move the oil freight.
BNSF confirms that its trained railroad personnel now inspect the crude oil route tracks that it operates over 2.5 times more often than FRA regulations require as the federal minimum safety standard.
BNSF also reduced the spacing between sophisticated track-side detectors along the crude oil train main line routes to better and more frequently identify wheels and axles that are beginning to fail.
Report tonight says World Fuel Services (NYSE: INT ) agreed to provide an estimated $110 Million to a compensation fund for victims of the 2013 Lac-Megantic, Quebec, oil train derailment as part of a settlement with the people trying to identify liability payment sources..
The report is that a subsidiary of INT sold the Bakken light crude oil that was on the train when it crashed and exploded, killing 47 people.
Canadian Pacific Railway, which transported the oil over some of the rail route but not over the track section where the train derailed has not yet settled with those parties seeking to put together a total compensation package say news reports,
The amount of funding found so far may still be about $200 million dollars short of the total liabilities identified in other news reports.
The public issue of how such catastrophic rail shipment risks are covered is still unresolved now almost at the two year date of this accident, And that may also be the public issue here in the United States if a multi billion accident occurred in a major US city.
Multiple causes. Prime cause was run away train derailing in the middle of the small town
Jim was quoted in Susan Phillips report for State Impact Pennsylvania, a National Public Radio project, about the tank cars narrowly missed by the locomotive of Amtrak #188 during the recent tragic derailment near Frankford Junction in Philadelphia.
A word of silence for the souls of those killed and injured in the derailment of northbound Amtrak train #188, a train I have ridden about a half dozen times.
The issue of “why” is in part related to the question of our collective owners as taxpayers of the Northeast Corridor infrastructure and “nominal shareholders” of the Amtrak operating company.
This “who is responsible issue” is addressed in this news report.
Jim was interviewed on National Public Radio’s Here and Now program this afternoon about the possible causes of the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia. You can listen to the interview with Jim in the player below.
It is not clear that proposed regulatory changes to train braking announced by the federal government on 1 May would have made any difference in any of the five crude oil train accidents so far this year.
This brake regulatory talk may mean that the FRA rule making for the brakes is a “technical distraction” from the more important changes in the oil train rules.
In the most recent crude oil by rail news:
BNSF issued the following statement regarding the May 6 North Dakota derailment: “At approximately 7:30 am CDT today, a train derailed at Heimdal, N.Dak., carrying crude oil. The train consisted of 109 total cars—107 cars loaded with crude oil and two buffer cars loaded with sand. There are no injuries but there is a fire at the scene. The tank cars involved in the incident are the unjacketed CPC-1232 models.”
The derailment was the fifth significant one this year of a crude oil train in North America.
It occured five days after the Department of Transportation announced a new rulemaking for tank cars carrying flammable liquids — including a requirement for new brake system.
What is your opinion on the proposed brake rule changes?
Meanwhile, there’s this from Bloomberg News:
Safer Oil-Train Cars, Brakes Mandated Two Years After Quebec
Safety oversight may be a federally regulated responsibility for railway traffic like hazmats and crude oil.
However, responding to an actual derailment and possible fires and evacuations of nearby people is the clear responsibility of local community and state agencies. Governors, mayors, and fire fighters are wrestling with technical issues on how to be better prepared. With or without federal help.
Here, briefly, is how rail experts in Virginia see the local and state technical issues. Other states like Pennsylvania and Minnesota are tacking the question for their elected officials. Reports from those states on improving and managing rail safety are expected later this month.