Debate on rail safety regulations shifts to strength of cars' materials

09/16/2013 | (free content)

Amid proposals for new U.S. rail safety regulations to improve the design of older tankers, critics are saying that approved alloys for tank car manufacturing don't include the strongest materials available. An initial investigation of the recent derailment in Quebec showed the runaway train was moving well over the area's speed limit, and experts said that even highly puncture-proof car designs could have failed in such situations. "Advancements have been made in these products, and there are huge benefits in terms of strength, but [manufacturers] can't use them without asking for an exception on a case-by-case basis," said Crompion International's executive vice president and technical services director, Ken Grantham.

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