Not All In The Railroad Industry Are Happy About The Oil Train Rules

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Remember the article we wrote about the new restrictions on transporting oil on rail lines? Well, if you don’t, go read Crude Oil on the Railroad to get the back story. In the meantime, here’s the latest news on the matter: some in the railroad industry are a bit upset about the new restrictions.


Union Pacific train engine on track

Crude Oil and the Railroad

Since recent occurrences (or to be more specific) large scale derailments, prompted certain railroads to enact tighter restrictions on crude-oil shipments across rail lines, the federal government has decided to get involved too. (If that all sounded really vague, well, it was intentional, but you may recall what derailments we’re alluding to.) In the time proceeding two high-profile rail accidents in the U.S. and Canada, one particular railroad decided to commit to even greater safety regulations. (To see which railroad, just click on the link to the previous article mentioned above.) In fact, this particular railroad took some of its regulations beyond the standards imposed by the railroad industry as a whole.

Nonetheless, as of May 1st, those extra-mile regulations may not seem so ambitious. The feds are now involved in enforcing even stricter regulations on shipping crude oil via the railroad. And while the railroad is always concerned with the safety of their operations, some in the industry are pretty upset about these new ideas from the government. For example, now that the U.S. Department of Transportation is requiring new braking systems on trains hauling crude oil, the cost of shipping the product is certain to increase substantially. These new systems, along with additional upgrades, are supposed to be implemented by 2021.

Between now and then, it’s likely we’ll see some deliberations between the industry and the federal government. If leaders can convince the feds that their stipulations are too restrictive on the railroad and too detrimental to the economy, then it’s likely that some of these action items may be lessened. Despite the concerns on both sides, we think that safety and continuity will continue in the railroad one way or another.



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