Rail congestion ‘crisis’ related to Bakken oil likely to be long-term problem

Source: Minnpost

REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
The rate of North Dakota oil trains crossing Minnesota got another working The rate of  over yesterday. At KMSP-TV, Tim Blotz says, “Bakken oil now rolls through Minnesota at a rate of more than 15 trains a day, but on a rail system that has limited space, other critical freight — including grain, Taconite, and propane — is often left off track. Rep. Joe Atkins, of Inver Grove Heights, described the issue as ‘a growing crisis’ at a packed legislative hearing. Even so, it’s not a simple blame game. … The troubles for Amtrak aren’t just the delays, but the length of them. Along BNSF lines, the minutes of delays per 10,000 miles of track dramatically jumped from last year — and it’s the same story for the Amtrak trains operating on Canadian National and Union Pacific tracks. However, rail experts told Minnesota lawmakers that building more pipelines won’t solve the problem.”
Speaking of: James MacPherson of the AP says, “A Canadian company that wants to build the largest oil pipeline yet from western North Dakota’s booming oil patch is delaying the project for at least a year due to permitting problems in Minnesota. Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Energy Partners LP disclosed the delay of the $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline in a filing Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”
Also from the AP: “The oil and railroad industries are urging federal regulators to allow them as long as seven years to retrofit existing tank cars that transport highly volatile crude oil, a top oil industry official said Tuesday. The cars have ruptured and spilled oil during collisions, leading to intense fires. Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, told reporters that the institute and the Association of American Railroads were jointly asking the Transportation Department for six months to 12 months for rail tank car manufacturers to gear up to retrofit tens of thousands of cars and another three years to retrofit older cars.”