Benefits of US rail safety rule underestimated - chlorine group

16 March 2010 23:13  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A US chlorine producer trade association asked the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Tuesday to revise the cost-benefit analysis of a new rail safety rule in order to ease the potential costs for chlorine rail shippers.

In general, Positive Train Control rules incorporates technology such as computer sensors on track and switches and global positioning systems (GPS) in locomotives and other rolling stock, according to FRA, giving dispatchers better information on the location, direction and speed of trains.

The Chlorine Institute said it commissioned a cost-benefit analysis and found that a Positive Train Control rule, which was published on 14 January, underestimated the net benefits of implementing the rule by more than $12bn (€9bn).

“This faulty analysis could foster a situation that would allow railroads to impose on shippers of chlorine and other toxic inhalation hazard [TIH] chemicals an unfairly large share of the costs of applying PTC technology,” the Chlorine Institute said.

“[T]he railroads have already announced that they will attempt to recover their investment in PTC from those shippers offering TIH materials for rail movement,” said Chlorine Institute president Arthur Dungan. “These efforts will have a direct and substantial impact on prospective TIH rail shippers and a strong incentive to move TIH shipments from the safer rail mode to the less-safe highway mode of transportation.”

The Chlorine Institute said the rule benefits rail carriers through fuel savings from better fuel monitoring and more efficient operations, increased rail-line segment capacities and greater dispatching efficiency, among other things.

The Chlorine Institute is technical trade association of companies that are involved in the production, distribution and use of chlorine, sodium and potassium hydroxides and sodium hypochlorite and the distribution and use of hydrogen chloride.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Brian Ford
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