Improved Tank Car Safety Research
Three recent accidents involving the release of hazardous material have focused attention on the structural integrity of railroad tank cars: (1) Minot, ND, on January 18, 2002; (2) Macdona, TX, on June 28, 2004; and (3) Graniteville, SC, on January 6, 2005. Each of these accidents resulted in fatalities. Research is being conducted to develop strategies for improving railroad tank cars so they can maintain tank integrity in severe accidents. A collaborative effort called the Next Generation Rail Tank Car (NGRTC) Project intends to use these research results to help develop improved tank car designs. Dow Chemical Company, Union Pacific Railroad, and Union Tank Car Company are the industry sponsors of the NGRTC Project. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Transport Canada participate in the NGRTC project through Memoranda of Cooperation. FRA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration intend to use these research results to support rulemaking.