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Discussion: (7 comments)

  1. Two points that pipelines have one disadvantage, which showed up in the WTI Brent differential over the last couple of years when there was insufficient pipeline capacity out of Cushing,Ok. A train can change its destination at short notice. It should be noted that according to reports the one engine was kept running to keep the air brakes applied. However major US railroads appear to have a procedure where if the train is to wait more than a couple of hours, you must release the air brake to ensure that the manual car brakes are really applied, and turn the diesel off not relying on the airbrakes at all. (Also mandated by California air quality rules as idling engines do pollute.) Further it appears that there was a fire on the locomotive, and the fire department turned the diesel off. It appears that as often happens you had a failure to communicate between the railroad dispatcher and the fire department, as well as the railroad not having personel on standby to check the locomotive after the fire department left.
    It should be noted that no pipelines are proposed to run to New Brunswick where the oil was going, all be it that one could tanker it from the Gulf Coast up there.

  2. Dave Onkels

    Refineries in northwest Washington State, supplied to-date mostly by tanker from Alaska, are responding to increasing uncertainty about north slope supplies by building rail loading facilities at a total cost of more than $100 million, in preparation for shipments from new supplies in the midwest US and in Canada.

    The oil unit trains, which should travel the route to Anacortes and Cherry Point, will arrive about daily, and perhaps more often as supplies from the north slope decline.

    At the same time, proposed coal export terminals will result in a considerable increase in coal unit trains in the same area, particularly through Bellingham, Washington. there may be as many as six unit trains a day, ande possibly more, through Bellingham.

    Oil unit trains are only a small part of the problem, but the risk is still pretty small, and there is no pipeline alternative for coal trains.

  3. Check out this article shipping coal through pipelines.

  4. Seattle Sam

    Environmentalists should be clamoring for the Obama administration to approve Keystone?

    No, environmentalists are really clamoring for cessation of fossil fuel use altogether.

  5. givemefreedom

    Environmentalist’s key complaint was that Keystone XL was going to pass through environmentally sensitive areas.

    But what about populated areas? What about the risk to people? When they build pipelines they don’t build them to go right through towns. Oil shipped by rail tends to travel on existing rail lines and existing rail lines go right through thousands of towns!!

    This oil was from North Dakota, heading to the east coast refineries. Keystone XL would likely make this trip by rail uneconomical. Further, there is a proposal by Transcanada Pipelines (the Keystone operator) to convert existing nat. gas pipelines that run from Alberta to the East into oil carrying pipelines. This would again make the above rail trip uneconomical.

    If a pipeline blew up in the middle of a town, the hue and cry from environmentalists would be deafening. Instead a train blew up and killed as many as 50 people, destroying much of this town and spilling thousands of tonnes of oil and the silence from environmentalists is deafening. Very sad.

  6. butasha

    “Without Keystone, designed to carry 830,000 barrels a day of oil, shipments of Canadian crude by rail would rise an additional 42% by 2017″

    I wonder who the big winner will be if rail traffic increases 42% by 2017? I just wouldnt happen to be our dear leaders buddy Warren Buffet would it?

  7. By looking at the data shown by association of American Railroads, Rail freight industry is to stay up-to-date on the latest technological advances; and to provide expertise on the most innovative ideas. As Rail being one of the safest mode of goods transportation, the OIL Supply via rail can be the best idea to go with even in the near future.

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