Canada watchdog: CN derailment shows inadequacy of new tank cars

Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:21pm EST
 
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TORONTO Feb 23 (Reuters) - A train derailment in Canada this month that set ablaze several new-model tank cars carrying crude oil shows the need for tougher rail car standards, Canada's safety watchdog said on Monday.

The Canadian National Railway Co. train, carrying crude and petroleum distillates, derailed in northern Ontario on Feb. 14, setting seven of its 100 cars on fire. The accident blocked traffic on its main cross-country line for several days.

The 29 cars that derailed were CPC-1232 tankers, meant to be safer than the older DOT-111 crude tankers that derailed and burned in downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec in 2013, killing 47 people.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, however, said the derailed CN cars performed much like the older cars.

It said the walls of at least 19 cars were breached or partially breached in the accident, releasing oil. The train was moving at a restricted speed of 38 miles per hour, while the Lac-Mégantic derailment happened at 65 miles per hour.

"Preliminary assessment of the CPC-1232-compliant tank cars involved in this occurrence demonstrates the inadequacy of this standard given the tank cars' similar performance to the legacy Class 111 tanks cars involved in the Lac-Mégantic accident," the board said in a statement.

A crash last Monday in West Virginia of a CSX Corp train also involved the newer model CPC-1232-compliant tank cars. (Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Dan Grebler)