BNSF_Color_LogoBILLINGS, Mont. – BNSF Railway Co. said Thursday (Feb. 20) it intends to buy a fleet of 5,000 strengthened tank cars to haul oil and ethanol in a move that would set a higher benchmark for safety within an industry that’s seen multiple major accidents.

The voluntary step by the Texas-based subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. comes as railroads in the U.S. and Canada are under intense pressure to improve safety for hazardous materials shipments.

Read the complete story at the Associated Press.

oil-train-railCompanies that transport massive amounts of flammable crude oil say that, after several fiery explosions, they’re not waiting for the U.S. government to issue new regulations and will replace tank cars with new safer cars as fast as they can.

Two oil companies, two Canadian railroads and a tank car manufacturer all have in recent days announced plans to increase the production and use of an updated tank car known as the DOT-111, shunning an older version of the car that many experts believe contributed to recent explosive accidents including the deadly July 6, 2013, derailment in Lac Megantic, Quebec, which killed 49 people.

Read the complete story at NBC News.

oil-train-railWASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Jan. 6 called for an overhaul of old rail tank cars used to carry crude oil after a spate of explosive derailments over the past year.

The New York Democrat joined a growing number of politicians concerned about the safety of transporting large volumes of oil by rail across the country, calling for a phase-out or retrofit of old tankers that do not meet current safety standards and are prone to puncture.

Read the complete story at the Chicago Tribune.

oil-train-railWOLF POINT, Mont. – It’s tough to miss the trains hauling crude oil out of the Northern Plains. They are growing more frequent by the day, mile-long processions of black tank cars that rumble through wheat fields and towns, along rivers and national parks.

As common as they have become across the U.S. and Canada, officials in dozens of towns and cities where the oil trains travel say they are concerned with the possibility of a major derailment, spill or explosion, while their level of preparation varies widely.

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