In a bid to improve safety on America’s rail network the TRANSPORT Secretary Mary E Peters has announced a final rule that will reinforce railroad tank cars, which carry hazardous materials.

The rule requires rail cars which carry poisonous inhalation materials to have better puncture resistance from side impact where the hazardous materials are held. The Transport Secretary said that strengthening the rail cars would increase public safety.

“Pending further technological and manufacturing advancements the rule will increase safety on existing cars handling hazardous materials, preventing the likelihood of leaks and spills,” she said.

In addition to increasing puncture resistance, each end of the tank car is to be protected with a full head shield and top fittings and nozzles used to load and unload the tank car will be required to prevent a release in a rollover accident.

The DOT is concerned about the leakage of poison inhalation hazard materials, such as chlorine and anhydrous ammonia, heavily used in water treatment, agricultural and industrial applications.

The final rule was issued by the DoT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in close consultation with the Federal Railroad Administration.

By Daniel Garrun.