Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) recommended on Thursday that regulators in Canada and the United States swiftly impose tougher standards on all railway oil tanker cars, not just new ones.
The board, which is investigating the derailment and fire that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, last July, issued the recommendations for rail carriers jointly with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
Neither the TSB nor the U.S. agency have the power to impose regulations.
The Canadian officials said that at Lac-Megantic the older version of so-called DOT-111 tank cars proved vulnerable to rupturing even at slower speeds.
The TSB said rail companies should quickly phase out older versions of the DOT-111, but said a specific timetable was up to regulators.
“The rail industry is moving to a new standard and that’s a good thing, but a long and drawn-out phase-out of older model cars simply isn’t good enough,” TSB Chairwoman Wendy Tadros said at a news conference in Ottawa.
Tadros could not say exactly what new standards are needed, but said the older cars are not safe enough to carry the dangerous cargo.
The safety board also recommended that railways be required to choose routes for transporting oil and other dangerous goods carefully and to ensure safe operations on those routes.