Tank Car Safety: The Real Story

Since the first wooden "tub car" was introduced in 1865, railroads and car builders, owners and users have been improving tank car design, construction, and materials to better withstand accidents; the industry's safety record is a testament to those efforts. The two recent deadly hazmat accidents in Macdona, Texas. and Graniteville, North Carolina have further strengthened the railroad industry's commitment to prevent similar ones. This article reviews what has been done, such as a requirement to retrofit all existing and construct all new liquid petroleum gas (LPG) carrying tank cars with shelf couplers, head shields, and thermal protection. Also advanced have been bottom fittings protection, steel with better low temperature properties, strengthened tank car shells and head shields, and inclusion of surge suppression devices on cars with pressure relief devices. One of the primary focuses of research has been tank car steel, with the industry looking for a high impact resistant steel for pressure tank cars. Additionally, tank car builders and users are taking a variety of steps to improve safety, such as: "overpackaging" cars with more safety features than federally required; enhanced quality and inspection processes; and development of high tech devices.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: pp 42-45
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01002358
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 18 2005 9:38AM