| TORONTO, March 18
TORONTO, March 18 Canada wants a faster
phase-out of older, flawed tanker railcars than what has been
proposed in the United States, the country's top-ranking
transport official said on Tuesday.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said a suggestion for a
10-year phase-out of the older DOT-111 tank cars, which many
hold responsible for a string of fiery train derailments, was
"I would go as far to say five years is a long time as
well," Raitt told reporters ahead of an event in Toronto, but
declined to be more specific.
The Railway Supply Institute had estimated in December that
modification of the legacy tank cars could take 10 years. But
last month, it suggested the length of the phase-out could be
substantially shortened if crude and ethanol tank cars were
BNSF Railway Co, a unit of Warren Buffett's
Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said late last year it was
advocating a seven-year phase-out on hauling hazardous materials
using the older cars.
The booming crude-by-rail business has come under heavy
scrutiny following a series of accidents, including the
explosive derailment of a runaway train that killed 47 people in
Lac-Megantic, Quebec last summer.
The oil in that disaster was carried in DOT-111 cars that
pre-dated the tougher tanker specifications voluntarily adopted
by the industry after October 2011.
Some 228,000 of the older cars remain in service in North
America, with 92,000 used to transport flammable liquids,
according to a Canadian government-backed report released last
Discussions on new tank safety standards are already
underway between Raitt and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony
Foxx. Raitt will be in Washington next week for further talks.
"We need to get to a point where we have a plan on phasing
out these DOT-111s and that's the importance of next week for
me," she said. "Make no mistake, we will be phasing out these
older DOT-111 cars."
Claude Mongeau, chief executive of Canadian National Railway
Co (CN Rail), Canada's biggest rail operator, said
earlier this year that the post-October 2011 tank cars, also
known as the "CPC 1232" design, had a 50-percent less chance of
failing compared to the DOT-111.
CN Rail and rival Canadian Pacific Railway began
adding a surcharge on customers who transport crude in the older
cars to deter shippers from using them.
BNSF, which also suffered a fiery derailment at the end of
2013, has said it is taking bids from railcar makers for up to
5,000 "next generation" tank cars with safety features that even
surpass those built after October 2011.
Raitt, who said the transport ministry is consulting with
companies on how much a phase-out will cost, said Canada and the
United States are also examining the next generation crude tank