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Crude by rail safety initiative

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Major US freight railroads have joined with the US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in announcing a rail operations safety initiative that will institute new voluntary operating practices for moving crude oil by rail. This announcement follows consultations between railroads represented by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the US Department of Transport (DoT), including the leadership of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

The announcement covers steps related to crude by rail operations. Additional issues relating to the safe transport of crude oil, such as tank car standards and proper shipper classification of crude oil, are being addressed separately.


AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger said, ‘we share the Administration’s vision for making a safe rail network even safer, and have worked together to swiftly pinpoint new operating practices that enhance the safety of moving crude oil by rail. Safety is a shared responsibility among all energy supply chain stakeholders. We will continue to work with our safety partners, including regulators, our employees, our customers and the communities through which we operate, to find more ways to reinforce public confidence in the rail industry’s ability to safely meet the increased demand to move crude oil.’

Next steps

Under the industry’s voluntary efforts, railroads will take the following steps:

  • Increased track inspections.
  • Braking systems.
  • Use of rail traffic routing technology.
  • Lower speeds.
  • Community relations.
  • Increased trackside safety technology.
  • Increased emergency response training and tuition assistance.
  • Emergency response capability planning.

Adapted from a press release by Claira Lloyd.

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