New FRA Directive Targets DOT-111 Cars' Weld Defects

"The good news is these flawed welds have been found in only a small portion of the U.S. tank car fleet that were manufactured by American Railcar Industries and ACF Industries between 2009 and 2015," FRA stated.

The Federal Railroad Administration issued a new directive Sept. 30 to owners of certain DOT-111 rail tank cars built between 2009 and 2015 and equipped with a two piece cast sump and bottom outlet valve skid. Because of non-conforming welding practices, these may have "substantial weld defects" that could cause the release of hazardous materials, it tells them.

"The potential flaws are in the welds at the bottom of the tank car where two components allow for product to be offloaded. Some of the welds do not meet federal safety regulations or industry specifications," the agency stated. "The good news is these flawed welds have been found in only a small portion of the U.S. tank car fleet that were manufactured by American Railcar Industries and ACF Industries between 2009 and 2015."

Owners of such tank cars are required to:

  • Identify within 30 days whether they hold any of these tank cars in their fleets and report those to FRA.
  • Before one of these tank cars is put into service, visually inspect to verify there is no visible leak from the welds and confirm that the tank car is in safe condition for transportation.
  • Put the identified tank cars through ultrasonic and surface inspections to fully examine the welds. If flaws are detected, the tank cars must be taken out of service immediately and repaired.

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