14 Nov 2014
Houston, 14 November (Argus) — BNSF crews worked overnight to clear and repair tracks around Casselton, North Dakota, where 12 empty crude tank cars derailed after being knocked off the tracks by a parallel train that derailed 21 mostly paper and lumber cars.
None of the empty crude cars was compromised, a BNSF spokeswoman said today. There were no injuries, and a broken rail is the suspected cause despite a visual inspection done earlier in the day that indicated no problems.
Casselton was the site of a similar accident on 30 December, when a grain train derailed and caused a full crude train to derail. That accident resulted in the derailment of 21 tank cars, some of which ruptured and caused a massive explosion and fire. There were no injuries in that accident, either.
The December Casselton wreck was one of five fiery crude-by-rail accidents since July 2013, when 47 people died when a runaway crude train crashed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The other wrecks have not caused any injuries or deaths.
The spate of accidents have prompted a series of regulator moves, including more inspections, slower speeds and development of stronger tank car requirements in Canada and the US. This week, North Dakota proposed rules to limit the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) — a measure of potential volatility — in crude to 13.7 psi starting on 1 February.
“We have to make sure families and communities across North Dakota are safe in their homes and do not live in fear that the next derailment could be in their town,” US senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) said today.