Final Rule Alert: PHMSA Removes ECP Brakes Requirement for HHFTs

Posted on 9/25/2018 by Roger Marks

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a Final Rule in the Federal Register on Tuesday, September 25 to remove requirements for electronically controlled pneumatic brake systems (ECP brake systems) on “high hazard flammable trains” of HHFTs.

PHMSA says the requirements, put in place in 2015 in response to a rash of incidents involving crude oil shipped by rail, are “not economically justified.”  

PHMSA had previously denied an appeal to its new rules for HHFTs.

Ship crude oil or other hazardous materials by rail? The Hazmat Ground Shipper—Additional Rail Requirements online course is a great way to round out your hazmat expertise and master the unique rules that apply to rail shipments. Enroll now to expand your knowledge and keep rail shipments in compliance.

What is an HHFT?

The 2015 regulation created new categories of trains subject to enhanced safety requirements, including ECP brakes, bolstered tank car design and protection standards, new sampling criteria for crude oil and other energy products, top speed restrictions and routing requirements, and more.

The two new definitions are:

High Hazard Flammable Train (HHFT) – a train comprised of 20 or more loaded tank cars of a Class 3 flammable liquid in a continuous block OR 36 or more loaded tank cars of a Class 3 flammable liquid across the entire train.

High Hazard Flammable Unit Train (HHFUT) – a train comprised of 70 or more loaded tank cars containing Class 3 flammable liquids traveling at speeds greater than 30 miles-per-hour.

Expanded Oil Spill Response Plan Rules for Rail

The enhanced safety measures for tank cars and trains should not be confused with a different new regulation, which aims to improve oil spill response on rail lines.

The 2016 proposed rule would expand the comprehensive oil spill response plans (OSRP) required for railroads that transport HHFTs.

Earlier this year, DOT indicated that they are working to complete this rule in 2018.

Nationwide Hazmat Shipper Training 

Get the training you need to ship hazardous materials by ground in the US. Trusted since the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) became law, Lion’s collaborative hazmat training workshops give you a step-by-step approach to prepare shipments.

From classifying hazmat to packaging, marking, labeling, loading, unloading, and documenting your shipments, you will learn what you need to know to stay in compliance with the latest 49 CFR rules.

See the current hazmat training schedule here.

*IATA DGR and IMDG Code training also available. See the Multimodal Hazmat Shipper Certification page.   

Tags: crude, flammable, hazmat shipping, HHFT, oil, rail shipping

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