BNSF Railway announced in February it is soliciting bids for the construction of 5,000 strengthened “Next Generation” tank cars to haul oil and ethanol.
Cars to be built are to exceed the stronger new standards the industry voluntarily adopted in October 2011 for the CPC-1232 jacketed tank car and will add new safety requirements. The tank car body shell and head ends will be built of thicker steel and, will have half-inch thick steel shields on either end to help prevent cracking during an accident. Cars also will have pressure-relief valves that could withstand an ethanol-based fire.
BNSF’s plans are a little unusual, because railroads don’t typically own tank cars.
“This BNSF tank car RFP represents a significant voluntary commitment that may help accelerate the transition to the Next Generation Tank Car and provide tank car builders a head start on tank car design and production, even as the Department of Transportation, railroads and shippers continue to engage in the formal rulemaking process,” the company said in a statement recently. “BNSF believes that the RFP process will provide market participants more certainty, sooner.”