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New FRA Final Rule for Securing Hazmat Trains

Posted on 7/30/2015 by Roger Marks

The US DOT Federal Rail Administration (FRA) has finalized a rule to prevent unattended trains that carry certain hazardous materials from “rolling away.”

The new rulemaking is part of US DOT’s effort to bolster the safety of hazmat trains, especially those carrying crude oil, in the wake of many train derailment incidents in the US and Canada that caused fires and explosions, destroyed property, and led to fatalities.

New Regulations for Securing Hazmat Trains

The latest rule from FRA, which is expected in the Federal Register soon, goes into effect 60 days after publication and sets new requirements for ensuring the security of trains on mainlines, sidings, and rail yards. The requirements in the new rule include:
  • A qualified and trained railroad employee to properly secure the equipment and verification of the securement from a second trained and qualified employee;
  • Additional communication, including job briefings among crew members responsible for the train securement;
  • Properly installed and utilized exterior locks on locomotives;
  • The setting of sufficient handbrakes;
  • Removal of the train reverser; and
  • The proper use of train air brakes.
The new securement requirements will apply to trains carrying poisonous or toxic by inhalation (PIH or TIH) hazardous materials and high-hazard flammable trains (HHFTs)—trains carrying 20 or more cars of other high-hazard flammable materials like crude oil.

Hazmat crude oil rail tank

In response to ongoing safety concerns regarding the transport of crude oil by rail, trains carrying crude oil and other flammable liquids are subject to more stringent design, construction, and operating standards that include new braking technology, speed restrictions, and more. Read more about DOT’s latest rules for hazmat rail shipments here.

Lac-Mégantic, Quebec Incident

On July 6, 2013, a freight train carrying one and a half million gallons of petroleum crude oil (UN 1267) rolled away from a train yard and ultimately derailed, causing explosions and fires that killed forty-seven people, destroyed fifty-three vehicles, and spilled about one million gallons of product.

Expert 49 CFR Hazmat Shipper Training

Get up to speed with the latest hazmat shipping regulations for ground, air, and ocean with interactive hazmat workshops, online courses, and webinars at Lion.com. For hazmat shipping managers and personnel, staying up-to-date with rule changes is critical; missing a single mandate can lead to rejected shipments, incidents in transit, and DOT fines up to $75,000 per day/violation. Per 49 CFR 172.704, hazmat employee training is required within 90 days for new employees and at least once every three years thereafter.

Tags: DOT, flammables, hazmat shipping, new rules

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