OTTAWA, April 24 (UPI) -- Canada’s transportation minister announced a phase-out of the type of railroad tank cars involved in a train derailment in 2013 in which 47 people were killed.
Minister Lisa Raitt said the DOT-111 oil tankers, typically regarded as rupture-proof, must be retired or significantly overhauled within three years, and 5,000 older cars considered most vulnerable, of the 65,000 in use in North America, must be removed from service immediately. The action came in response to a July 2013 accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a train with 72 tanker cars filled with crude oil rolled out of control and exploded. Several tankers exploded, destroying 40 buildings.
The U.S. Transportation Safety Board called for the cars to be replaced as early as 1991, and Canada’s safety board noted in its January report on the Quebec explosion it had been “commenting on the vulnerability” of the rail cars for two decades.
Brian Stevens of Unifor, a rail car inspectors union, pointed out the rail cars “can still be used to carry vegetable oil or diesel fuel, but for carrying this dangerous crude oil there should be an immediate moratorium.”