NEW YORK BNSF
Railway Co. "has issued a request to major railcar
manufacturers to submit bids for the construction of 5,000
next-generation tank cars to be used for transporting crude
oil," a company spokeswoman told AMM in an e-mail.
The new models will be
outfitted with tank car body shell and head-ends made of
9/16-inch thick steel and 11-gauge steel jackets and
full-height, 1/2-inch thick head shields, according to the
"The current baseline
DOT-111 tank car is constructed of 7/16-inch steel and
typically does not include jacketing, top fittings protection,
head shields and disconnectable bottom outlet valve operating
mechanism," the spokeswoman said.
Texas-based BNSFs request "represents a significant
voluntary commitment that may help accelerate the transition to
the next-generation tank car and provide tank car builders a
head start on tank car design and production, even as the
Department of Transportation, railroads and shippers continue
to engage in the formal rulemaking process," the spokeswoman
Government agencies in
the U.S. and Canada have proposed improvements in crude-oil
rail car safety following several recent derailments and
subsequent explosions (
amm.com, Jan. 24), and rail roads have said they
support the new standards (
amm.com, Dec. 30).
"Theres a change
in the requirements and they (railroads) all have to do it. If
you want to stay in that business you have to have the proper
cars," Chuck Bradford, principal of New York-based Metals
Industry Advisory Group LLC, told AMM, adding that
crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota has shown
itself to be particularly volatile during rail transport, with
a number of the recent accidents involving that form.
Bradford said the new
generation of tank cars for crude oil transport weigh about 45
tonnes, with about 12 tonnes in the form of cast parts and the
remainder comprised mostly of steel plate.
declined to provide specifics on possible costs for the order
or which manufacturers the request has been sent to, saying it
was too early in the process.