Technical Reports

Rail Hazardous Material Tank Car Design Study

  • 01
  • Apr
  • 1975
AUTHOR: Adams, Bullerdiek, Patten and Vassallo
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-75/45
SUBJECT: Hazardous Materials
KEYWORDS: hazardous materials; tank car
ABSTRACT: Tank cars containing flammable liquefied compressed gas ladings have been involved in many accidents involving death, injury, and large amounts of property damage. The losses have generally occurred following puncture of a tank in a derailment of from rough handling in terminal operations. Subsequent ignition of escaping lading frequently has resulted in the development of a general conflagration, often accompanied by the violent rupture and rocketing of other fire-exposed pressure tank cars. This report provides the basis for defining practical and economical safety improvements and identifies the safety research gaps which must be closed before a prototype tank car can be designed to optimal safety/economic considerations. Increased safety can be realized by decreeing the probability of subsequent tank ruptures of other cars from fire exposure. Six areas were given particular consideration because of their greater potential for success for 112A/114A series tank cars. These were: 1) operational changes, 2) head shields, 3) modified couplers, 4) thermal insulation, 5) tank material changes, and 6) safety relief system modifications.

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