Loading upgrade

May 1, 2010
Murphy Oil enhances loading rack capabilities in Superior WI
WHEN Murphy Oil USA decided to ship diesel by rail from the company's motor fuel and asphalt refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, managers began planning a tankcar loading area upgrade. By the time the project was completed, the loading area had been thoroughly updated and modified to accommodate both tankcars and tank trucks.

The initial plan was to modify the existing asphalt loading rack to also handle diesel. Spill containment pans would be installed under the trackage in the loading area to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Spill Prevention, Containment, and Countermeasures regulation.

While researching the project, Murphy Oil's railroad engineering consultant — Krech Ojard & Associates found a spill containment option that offered greater loading rack flexibility. Trans Environmental Systems Inc (TESI) offered a steel collector pan with a reinforced bar grate that would make the loading rack accessible to both trucks and railcars. After discussions, Murphy Oil's mechanical engineer Jerry Choate ordered one set.

More discussions followed and the development team determined that if they installed two of the TESI Drive-Over track collector pans, they could avoid most of the cost that would be incurred for building a separate tank truck loading rack facility.

By re-routing the access roadways to come up to and parallel the railroad spur trackage, tank transports could load and unload using the same loading arms, stairway and mezzanine, worker fall protection, metering, and pumps. In addition, the dual-mode loading rack would need only a single supervisor.

When a tankcar is on one side of the loading rack, tank trucks can still load on the other side. When there is no rail activity, tank trucks can access both loading rack lanes.

After drainage piping was installed, the track collector pans were bolted down to the rail ties with lag bolts. The railroad contractor had installed 12-ft switch ties to provide a firm base in the area where the collector pans were placed.

To improve all-weather loading operations, Murphy Oil constructed a closed, heated building over the loading rack structure. Since the track pans are open, they will collect some rainwater and blown-in snow. A portable steam generator is used at the loading rack to melt away any accumulated snow.

The Drive-Over track collector pans have four four-inch drains (one at each corner) and the bar grate support matrixes are designed to allow drainage. The bar grate structure can be removed manually and the pan floor squeegeed or shoveled out when needed.