AAR supports upgrading or 'aggressively phasing-out' DOT-111 rail cars

DOT-111 rail car.

The Association of American Railroads has heard the call from legislators and filed regulatory comments on Thursday supporting upgrades, such as thermal insulation and upgraded pressure relief valves, or simply undertaking an â??aggressiveâ?? phase-out of old DOT-111 tank cars that carry flammable liquids.

These recommendations come on the heels of a freight derailment in Quebec earlier this year. Senator Chuck Schumer called for the DOT and Federal Railroad Administration to upgrade or get rid of DOT-111 tankers at a news conference in Syracuse in August. Schumer noted that elevated portions of track where the potentially dangerous materials were transported go right through sections of Syracuse, among other Upstate cities. You may remember the derailment in November 2011 that forced the evacuation of 60 Syracuse homes.

â??I am pleased that the freight railroad industry has recognized the indisputable fact that DOT-111 tank cars are an unfit â?? and outright dangerous â?? means of transporting flammable liquids on the rail lines that travel through so many of Americaâ??s communities,â?? Senator Schumer said. â??The Lac-Mégantic tragedy showed we need federal rules to completely retrofit or phase-out this stock of tank cars and I have pushed both the AAR and Transportation Secretary Foxx to heed our call and make this policy the law of the land. Communities across New York deserve nothing less than the peace of mind that the trains moving through their neighborhood are safe and secure.â??

CSX rail lines carry between 200 and 300 DOT-111 cars full of ethanol and other fuels between Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Ulster everyday.