NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Fuel-hauling tank cars need safety upgrades to keep fires from spreading after train derailments, and the public can’t wait another decade for the improvements as the industry suggests, U.S. safety officials said.
The National Transportation Safety Board issued four urgent recommendations Monday after a spate of fiery accidents revealed shortcomings in voluntary industry standards for cars hauling oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids.
The agency said the cars should be replaced or retrofitted with protective systems better able to withstand fire than the bare steel construction now widely in use. That could include ceramic “thermal blankets” that surround the tank and shield it from intense heat should a nearby car catch fire, the NTSB said.
The recommendations come as the Department of Transportation considers new rules to bolster tank car safety. Oil and ethanol train crashes have stirred widespread worry in the U.S. and Canada after dozens of significant derailments.
Oil tankers pass through Rockland and County Executive Ed Day points to the derailment and explosion in Quebec two years ago that killed 47 people.
“Just feel like it, in my hometown of New City and here in Rockland, it would be like the entirety of the center of New City being obliterated– two blocks on either side of Main Street, four from the court house, down to St. Augustus church,” he told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.