Chemical Rail Cars to See Security Upgrades

Technology for tracking and monitoring of cars to be unveiled for chemical makers


New rail tank cars will feature significantly enhanced safety and security attributes, according to the newly formed Chlorine Rail TankCar Development Coordination Panel. Made up of Occidental Chemical Corp., the Dow Chemical Company, US Magnesium LLC and Bayer Material Science, the Coordination Panel noted it's a logical progression to the next generation of safe and secure rail tank cars.

One area where the proposed design changes differ from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) specification is the inclusion of security enhancements. Though Panel spokesmen wouldn't elaborate on specifics, they did say the ability to track the car and to monitor the condition of the lading would be part of the design.

In addition to safety, there is some implication this could help in the battle to avoid rail routing concerns surrounding hazardous materials (HAZMAT). Various groups and municipalities have sought to have regulations put in place to reroute rail HAZMAT shipments away from population centers. This, said the Panel, could seriously affect efficiency. Though thegroup stopped short of saying the tank car enhancements planned for these new cars would help avoid problems with routing, it did point out that the modifications, along with better puncture resistance, crashworthiness etc. were positive steps.