Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PHMSA Issues PIH Tank Car Rule

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule in today’s Federal Register. The Improving the Safety of Railroad Tank Car Transportation of Hazardous Materials final rule provides for “enhanced safety measures for rail transportation of poison inhalation hazard (PIH) materials, including interim design standards for railroad tank cars” (74 FR 1769). The effective date of the rule is March 16, 2009. As you would expect this is a lengthy rule that will require some study before I can comment on the details. It appears that PHMSA is adopting interim changes to rail car design while it continues to work out the details of the design criteria proposed in the April 1st, 2008 NPRM. According to the summary (74 FR 1770), this rule also adopts:
“A 50 mph speed restriction for loaded rail tank cars transporting PIH materials; “An improved top fittings performance standard; “An allowance to increase the gross weight of tank cars that meet the enhanced standards; and “Adoption of the industry standard for normalized steel in certain tank cars.”
I’ll provide further details in future blogs.

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