FRA issues directive on tankcar weld flaws

Oct. 5, 2016

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a directive warning of potential flaws in the welds at the bottom of certain tankcars where two components allow for product to be offloaded. Some of the welds reportedly do not meet federal safety regulations or industry specifications.

The flawed welds were found in only a small portion of the US tankcar fleet that were manufactured by American Railcar Industries and ACF Industries between 2009 and 2015, according to FRA officials.

These tankcars--DOT 111s--are used to transport a wide variety of products, everything from crude oil to corn syrup.

The directive instructs tankcar owners to take immediate steps to determine if one of these tankcars is in their fleets and, if so, to inspect and repair those tank cars if necessary.

Effective immediately, tankcar owners must:

Identify within 30 days whether they hold any of these tankcars in their fleets and report those to FRA.

Prior to any of these tankcars being put into service, visually inspect to verify there is no visible leak from the welds, and confirm that the tankcar is in safe condition for transportation.

Put the identified tankcars through ultrasonic and surface inspections to fully examine the welds. If flaws are detected, the tankcars must be taken out of service immediately and repaired.

Tankcars with confirmed flaws that transport hazmat must be tested and fixed faster than tankcars that transport other products. The tankcars that are in storage currently and have flaws have more time.