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Tank Cars

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NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
As bad as Tuesday's Amtrak accident was, on a different day, it could have been much worse. The front end of the train that careened off the Northeast Corridor tracks, killing seven passengers, skidded for about 100 yards and crashed into Conrail's Frankford Junction Yard. The rail yard is frequently occupied by tank cars of the type used to carry crude oil, ethanol, or other explosive liquids. While the wrecked seven-car Amtrak train did not contact any freight cars, Gov. Wolf, who visited the crash scene early Wednesday, noted the proximity of nearby tankers and said, "That is a cause of additional concern.
NEWS
November 20, 1991 | BY RAMONA SMITH, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Rail tank cars - branded "rolling Chernobyls" by a Texas mayor after a spectacular 1986 explosion - carry much tougher armor now than they did 10 or 20 years ago. But some hazardous cargoes - including some with toxic vapors - still travel in tank cars that are "inadequate for the dangers posed to the public by the materials," says a recent report by the National Transportation Safety Board. The tank, known officially as the DOT-111A, has a poor accident record compared to more heavily fortified cars.
NEWS
December 11, 2012 | By Joseph A. Gambardello, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Paulsboro Public Schools will reopen Tuesday, more than a week after they were closed because of the Nov. 30 derailment of freight-train tank cars carrying toxic chemicals. The school district said schools will open at their normal times and what had been scheduled as a half day on Friday will now be a full day of classes. A meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Paulsboro High School Auditorium for any questions and concerns parents and guardians might have. The reopening of the schools follows a weekend during which several hundred people who were evacuated from their homes were allowed to return after officials detected zero vinyl chloride in the air or residents' houses.
NEWS
November 20, 1991 | BY RAMONA SMITH, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
The crew in the locomotive saw the explosions from a mile away, as they were chasing their runaway freight down a Montana mountain. They had stopped on a steep grade to rearrange engines. They were lax about setting brakes. And when the engineer turned on a headlight, he saw that his train was gone. The result was hell in Helena as the 49-car freight slammed into another locomotive and unleashed two chemical explosions. The blasts caused $6 million in damage and hurled bits of tank cars half a mile.
NEWS
June 23, 1988 | From Inquirer Wire Services
A freight train derailed last night and two cars carrying phosphorus caught fire, spewing a giant plume of toxic fumes that forced about 2,500 residents of at least three small towns to leave their homes. No injuries were reported, officials said. The 32-car CSX train derailed at 7:55 p.m., 3 1/2 miles north of Crofton in western Kentucky, state police said. Two tank cars carrying phosphorus ignited, and a third phosphorus tanker derailed but was not burning, said Alvin Pollard, assistant director of the Christian County emergency center in Hopkinsville.
NEWS
November 20, 1991 | BY RAMONA SMITH, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
The poison train rolls into Bridesburg in the middle of the night. One chemical used by Rohm and Haas is so potentially hazardous that it's now delivered on a special, non-stop train. "We run a direct train, basically only two cars of the material, straight into the plant - non-stop, special crew - and we run it at night," said Ronald M. Jacobson, company distribution risk manager. The toxic material is ethylene oxide, currently being reclassified by the federal government from a flammable liquid to a poison gas. Rohm and Haas uses about 12 tank cars of it a month, Jacobson said, in making surfactants - ingredients used in soap or shampoo.
NEWS
December 14, 1987 | From Inquirer Wire Services
Thousands of people returned home yesterday as firefighters kept watch over three burning railroad tankers that exploded Saturday after a string of runaway chemical cars derailed, authorities said. Railroad officials said that a crew uncoupled 85 cars from a train on a downgrade siding, and that the cars inadvertently coasted until 16 derailed at the switch to the main track. No one was injured in the accident, which occurred about 15 miles north of Austin. Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Alexander Tice said that two of the burning cars contained liquid propane gas and that the third contained butyl alcohol, a solvent.
NEWS
November 20, 1991 | BY RAMONA SMITH, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Bernard Shropshire never worries about the hazardous cargoes that roll past on the tracks at the end of his block in Strawberry Mansion. For one thing, he has a lot of confidence in the railroad. "Those accidents they have, are more like human error," Shropshire said. Then he paused. ". . . That fella who be driving the flammable liquids or those poisonous gases around, you better hope he's straight this morning, or had his cup of coffee. " Shropshire, 40, of Marston Street near Sedgley Avenue, said he's watched freights pull an assortment of boxcars, coal cars and oil and chemical tankers through the tidy neighborhood.
NEWS
December 22, 2000 | By Robert Moran, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A CSX train bound from Quebec to Baltimore derailed early yesterday in Fairmount Park, spilling thousands of gallons of sulfuric acid and forcing the closure of Kelly Drive north of Boathouse Row. City officials said the busy road, a popular alternative to the Schuylkill Expressway, could be closed until late this afternoon. There were no reports of serious injuries, but a police sergeant drove himself to Hahnemann University Hospital complaining about exposure to fumes, fire officials said.
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NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
There was a body in the grass. More under the cars. The injured were scattered on the ground. The battered passenger cars of Amtrak Train 188 had jumped the tracks just minutes before, and lay at odd angles in a scene emergency responders described as beyond anything they had seen before - or want to see again. "Carnage," one said. "Steel. " The first responders had pushed through the fence at Frankford Junction on Tuesday evening, and found the New York City-bound train at the foot of the hill.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
As bad as Tuesday's Amtrak accident was, on a different day, it could have been much worse. The front end of the train that careened off the Northeast Corridor tracks, killing seven passengers, skidded for about 100 yards and crashed into Conrail's Frankford Junction Yard. The rail yard is frequently occupied by tank cars of the type used to carry crude oil, ethanol, or other explosive liquids. While the wrecked seven-car Amtrak train did not contact any freight cars, Gov. Wolf, who visited the crash scene early Wednesday, noted the proximity of nearby tankers and said, "That is a cause of additional concern.
BUSINESS
February 28, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) called on the federal government Thursday to expedite the adoption of new standards for more robust oil-tank cars. Casey, in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), said the agency should move quickly in its review of new railcar standards following the latest oil-train accident and explosion, Feb. 16 in West Virginia. "We want the administration to have a greater sense of urgency to get this out the door," Casey said in a conference call with reporters.
NEWS
February 20, 2015 | BY MARTIN SCHRAM
  A HUGE COLUMN of fire shot skyward - then fanned out in all directions at once, becoming a massive fireball that seemed to hover over tiny Mount Carbon, just downriver from Boomer, W.Va., which is officially a "census-designated place" of 813 people. Suddenly, Monday afternoon's winter sky glowed a nightmarish fire-bright orange - and well into the night it remained a massive warning flare, visible to folks miles away. Officials ordered hundreds to evacuate their homes. Witnesses told reporters the usual things ("like an atomic bomb," "wrath-of-God")
NEWS
December 12, 2012 | By Andrew Seidman, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Work crews used a 150-ton crane today to remove a tank car that was breached and leaked its toxic contents when it fell into Mantua Creek off a failed railroad bridge in Paulsboro Nov. 30. A Conrail spokesman announced the operation early this evening. The car, one of four that ended up in the water, was carrying toxic vinyl chloride, some of which escaped into the air as a gas and forced the evacuation of hundreds of nearby residents for days. Cleanup crews finally removed the chemical from the car three days ago. Three other tank cars are still in the waterway.
NEWS
December 12, 2012 | By Joseph A. Gambardello, Inquirer Staff Writer
Paulsboro public schools are to reopen Tuesday morning, more than a week after they were closed because of the Nov. 30 derailment of freight-train tank cars carrying toxic chemicals. The school district said classes would begin at their normal times and what had been scheduled as a half-day on Friday will now be a full day. Meanwhile, officials overseeing the post-derailment cleanup have scheduled a community information session for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Paulsboro High School. The reopening of the schools follows a weekend during which several hundred people who were evacuated from their homes were allowed to return after officials detected zero vinyl chloride in the air or inside residents' houses.
NEWS
December 2, 2005 | By Jennifer Lin INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Every day, railcars filled with dangerous chemicals that could take out much of Center City move unhindered and unnoticed from one end of Philadelphia to the other. It's one of the most daunting risks to the city's security - and one City Council may try to stop. Frustrated by the lack of federal action to secure the nation's rail lines, more cities are trying to take matters into their own hands, considering laws to block the transport of hazardous rail cargo through neighborhoods.
NEWS
December 22, 2000 | By Robert Moran, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A CSX train bound from Quebec to Baltimore derailed early yesterday in Fairmount Park, spilling thousands of gallons of sulfuric acid and forcing the closure of Kelly Drive north of Boathouse Row. City officials said the busy road, a popular alternative to the Schuylkill Expressway, could be closed until late this afternoon. There were no reports of serious injuries, but a police sergeant drove himself to Hahnemann University Hospital complaining about exposure to fumes, fire officials said.
NEWS
November 5, 1999 | By Candace Heckman and Heather N. Bandur, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Some local trucking routes were closed and a few homes and businesses temporarily evacuated after tanks on a train carrying liquified petroleum gas to an oil refinery here derailed yesterday. Emergency management and company officials said there were no injuries and none of the gas leaked when three of the cylinder tanker cars came off the tracks at Valero Energy Corp. at about 9:15 a.m. Two of the cars overturned when railroad workers attempted to switch them from one track to another, authorities said.
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