Fleet Composition of Rail Tank Cars Carrying Flammable Liquids: 2022 Report
In accordance with the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released its Fleet Composition of Rail Tank Cars Carrying Class 3 Flammable Liquids: 2022 Report. The report discusses the progress in upgrading the rail tank car fleet to the DOT-117 standard, which meets new safety requirements, and summarizes the types of rail tank cars carrying Class 3 flammable liquids. There is a rolling phase out schedule of tank cars based on both tank car type and flammable liquids carried. All tank cars on the rails are currently in compliance with scheduled deadlines. There were no phase out deadlines in 2021. The next deadline is for all tank cars carrying ethanol to meet the DOT-117 specifications by July 2023. In 2021, 57 percent of all rail tank cars carrying Class 3 flammable liquids were built to the new DOT-117 or DOT-117R specification.
BTS is also required to provide statistically sound estimates of tank car production in the coming year which meet the DOT-117 specification. A census of rail tank car shops with the ability to produce or retrofit DOT-117 cars was conducted. It is expected that 5,642 new DOT-117 cars will be produced in 2022 and 2,680 existing tank cars will be retrofitted to the DOT-117R specifications, introducing 8,322 new DOT-117 or DOT-117R tank cars in 2022. There are 7,473 tank cars carrying ethanol in 2021, which need to meet the safety specifications by July 2023. The addition of these 8,322 new tank cars in 2022, will make the 2023 deadline for tank cars carrying ethanol an achievable milestone.