Canada to Require Stronger Tank Cars for Crude by Rail

Canada will require railways shipping crude oil to use stronger tank cars and reduce the speed of trains carrying dangerous goods.

The Canadian government will ban the “least crash-resistant” of tanker cars known as DOT-111s from carrying dangerous goods, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said today in Ottawa. DOT-111 cars carrying crude or ethanol that don’t meet new safety standards must be phased out or refitted within three years, she said.

“I am committed to making our country a model of world-class safety,” Raitt said in a statement. “The measures I am announcing today improve the safety of the railway and transportation of dangerous goods systems from coast to coast to coast.”

The U.S. and Canadian governments have tightened rail safety rules after crashes involving oil shipments, including the explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec in July, that killed 47 people.

Today’s announcement comes after transportation regulators in the U.S. and Canada said Jan. 23 that crude oil hauled by rail needs to be shipped in stronger tank cars and on safer routes. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada recommended tougher standards for DOT-111 cars, as well as better route planning and detailed emergency-response plans in communities where oil shipments travel, a recommendation Raitt accepted today. Her announcement didn’t specify how slowly trains carrying dangerous goods would be required to travel.

Shipments of oil by rail have increased as growing output from Canada and the U.S. exceeds pipeline capacity.

A U.S. State Department report in January concluded that denying TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t significantly reduce production from Canada’s oil sands because output would reach markets in other ways, including by rail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Mayeda in Ottawa at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Badertscher at Chris Fournier

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