Alabama Oil-Train Derailment Raises Issues About Crude Shipment Safety

"The second explosive oil-train derailment this year, which has finally burned out in rural Alabama, may raise new questions about the safety of the crude-by-rail boom, pointing to problems beyond those that surfaced following the earlier tragedy in Quebec."

"Within hours of the accident early Friday morning, operator Genesee & Wyoming Inc had already ruled out many of the factors cited in the deadly Lac Megantic disaster, where a runaway train careened into the center of town, bursting into a fireball that killed 47 people and levelled buildings.

The train in Alabama was travelling on relatively flat terrain at below the 40 miles per hour limit, not parked atop an incline where brake failure may have been an issue. The tank cars on the 90-car Genesee train were T108s, not DOT-111s, which have been faulted by regulators. An industry-standard two engineers were driving it, not one as in Canada."

Anna Louie Sussman reports for Reuters November 11, 2013.

Source: Reuters, 11/12/2013