Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

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Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby AARR » Wed May 06, 2015 5:00 pm

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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby TC Man » Thu May 07, 2015 8:48 am

How long before railroads decide it's not worth the risk, or their insurance companies start raising rates for transporting oil....
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby AARR » Thu May 07, 2015 8:49 am

TC Man wrote:How long before railroads decide it's not worth the risk, or their insurance companies start raising rates for transporting oil....

Our country remains dependent on low cost oil. They'll reduce train speeds first.
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby Saturnalia » Thu May 07, 2015 8:53 am

2nd wreck for BNSF in as many months.

Wondering how long before North Dakota residents really start getting concerned.

I'm also beginning to wonder if they should use the ore train model for moving this stuff, to reduce the risks. Build oil ports in like Green Bay, Menominee, etc and ship it to Erie or something like that and then pipeline it? There would be significant investment in the Great Lakes fleet and require more icebreakers like the Mackinac, but I wonder how well it would actually work.

In theory, it would reduce Crude-by-rail miles, restricting it mostly to the relatively underpopulated northern plains.
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby trnwatcher » Thu May 07, 2015 1:41 pm

MQT3001 wrote:2nd wreck for BNSF in as many months.

Wondering how long before North Dakota residents really start getting concerned.
I'm also beginning to wonder if they should use the ore train model for moving this stuff, to reduce the risks. Build oil ports in like Green Bay, Menominee, etc and ship it to Erie or something like that and then pipeline it? There would be significant investment in the Great Lakes fleet and require more icebreakers like the Mackinac, but I wonder how well it would actually work.
In theory, it would reduce Crude-by-rail miles, restricting it mostly to the relatively underpopulated northern plains.

They cant get pipelines built to carry this crude to the gulf coast now, so how would they get additional pipelines built to haul this to the east coast refineries. I agree with AARR, train speeds will probably come down, and then increased inspections on wheels, track, etc. The more money the RR"s will have to spend to haul this rates will go up and shippers will then start looking at alternatives.
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby Saturnalia » Thu May 07, 2015 2:37 pm

Well maybe then ship it out the St Lawrence, but that is a long detour and then they'd also have to open the seaway year-round. Or, shove it all thru in the navigation season, but then you have to store it. Trains could then pick up the slack in winter at slower speeds and $$$ rates for the railroads.
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Thu May 07, 2015 8:13 pm

I have been studying the crude by rail business over the past few months. I have noted that a number of politicians that have followed the bandwagons that certain groups of experts have created. Notably, treating the Bakken crude to lower the vapor pressure and the call for "better" cars.

I am also aware of those that have taken the position that 99%+ of all oil trains make the trip with no issues. What a great statistic for the industry to publicize. Heck, we only killed 47 non-railroaders in the past two years. Decades ago, we killed that many each week. What progress!

The most recent accident in ND has shown the a lowered vapor pressure does not prevent a large fire. An accident a few weeks back involved some of the new wonder tankers and there was still a breach and fire. Lowering speeds may help, but only marginally. Given the traffic congestion problems the railroads already face, running a large number of oil trains at low speed is not sustainable.

What has not happened yet is correcting the root cause of the oil train fires. For the most part, track and car failure has been the root cause. And the equipment failure has not just been tank car failures. The Casselton, ND wreck and fire of 2013 was caused by an axle failure on a grain train traveling on the adjacent track.

Bottom line is when the industry decides they want to stop the derailments, they will. Nearly all derailments are preventable. The industry must improve inspections and take immediate remedial action for defects found in equipment and structures. Yes, this will be expensive. Yes, more people will need to be hired. Yes, rates must go up.

The derailments must end. The industry would be better served to make the changes themselves rather than have the government create a whole new layer of regulation.

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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Fri May 08, 2015 12:26 pm

TC Man wrote:How long before railroads decide it's not worth the risk, or their insurance companies start raising rates for transporting oil....


Didn't one of the railroads try to raise their rates for the crude trains a year or two ago, when the anti-crude-by-rail hysteria started? I seem to recall as a common carrier the railroads aren't allowed to refuse to transport the crude trains (regardless of exactly what the cars are being loaded with), but did a railroad lose a lawsuit (or rate contest?) over increased rates for hauling crude to make up for the increased expenses when something goes wrong? It's possible I'm thinking of an STB complain Dow filed against Rail America for "unfairly" increasing the tariffs (rates) for certain chemical shipments, but I don't think they can refuse to run the crude trains even if they believe the risk is too great.
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Fri May 08, 2015 4:44 pm

This just in, Sandia National Laboratories has developed a tanker that will survive a collision without leaking. Video here....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlextDSoVkQ&spfreload=10
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby AARR » Fri May 08, 2015 6:09 pm

Standard Railfan wrote:This just in, Sandia National Laboratories has developed a tanker that will survive a collision without leaking. Video here....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlextDSoVkQ&spfreload=10

Is that rocket powered engine a U25?
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Fri May 08, 2015 6:17 pm

AARR wrote:Is that rocket powered engine a U25?


Is that not awesome?
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby AARR » Fri May 08, 2015 6:42 pm

Standard Railfan wrote:
AARR wrote:Is that rocket powered engine a U25?


Is that not awesome?

YAARR! 8) You know those guys were loving that test although it wasn't easy to set up :shock:
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Re: Oil train derails in North Dakota, small town evacuated

Unread postby Saturnalia » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:45 pm

NTSB posted the in-cab footage from both trains today. Incredible to ride with the crude oil train through hitting the drailed grain car and through the ditch. Can't imagine what riding a 14,000 ton train through a corn field is like :shock:

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