Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Railroads resist U.S. fix to wreck-prone oil cars

DOT-100s are known to puncture and burn; why haven't the common tanker cars been repaired or replaced?

Railroads resist U.S. fix to wreck-prone oil cars


For 20+ years U.S. officials have been trying to prod railroads to fix the thin-shelled DOT-100-type oil-tanker cars that haul most U.S. fuel that goes by rail.

Demands for repair and reform are likely to mount now that the cars, vulnerable to puncture, fire and wreck in typical railroad accidents, have been implicated in the killer train fire that wrecked Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.

After the Exxon Valdez disaster, the federal government forced oil tank ship operators to adopt double-hull construction. But railroad lobbyists say the government's tanker car cure (see 1991 NTSB analysis, summary, list of past accidents, and recommendations here) is too expensive. Read more in my column in today's Philadelphia Inquirer here, and an earlier version with a bit more historic context here.

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About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at http://www.philly.com/PhillyDeals and his Inquirer columns at http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/joseph-distefano/. Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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