Norfolk Southern seeks customer legal protection from older tank cars

Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:35pm EDT

(Reuters) - Norfolk Southern Corp said it would require its customers to give the railroad company legal protection against damage caused by explosions or leakage of hazardous materials carried in older tank cars.

The company said in a notification to its customers that the legal protection would cover losses, damages, court costs, and costs of environmental cleanup and remediation, emergency response and evacuations, judgments, fines and penalties. (

Norfolk Southern said the legal protection, which applies to older DOT-111 tank cars built before late 2011, would take effect on July 15.

The company also said the legal protection would cover the company, its parent, subsidiary and affiliated companies and its and their respective directors, officers, employees and agents.

A series of accidents on rail tank cars carrying crude oil has put the workhorses of the oil industry under scrutiny, and U.S. and Canadian regulators are carving out new rules on how to build them.

In April, Canadian authorities ordered the phase-out of older rail cars, partly in response to the explosion and fire on a train carrying Bakken crude that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, last July.

While the DOT-111 model has long been the workhorse for oil-by-rail shipments in North America, most stakeholders agree it is outdated. A tougher tank car design known as the CPC-1232 has been the industry standard since 2011.

The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported the story.

(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee; Editing by Leslie Adler and Eric Walsh)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

How to get out of debt

Financial adviser Eric Brotman offers strategies for cutting debt from student loans and elder care -- and how to avoid money woes in the first place.  Video