Buffett’s BNSF Rail wants safer oil tank cars after fires, explosions

Buffett’s BNSF wants safer oil tank cars following fires and other accidents
A train collision ignites oil tankers just west of Casselton, N.D., in December. Warren Buffett’s BNSF has put out bids for 5,000 new and safer oil tank cars to help prevent such incidents.
(Dave Arntson / Zuma Press / MCT)

With America’s new oil boom forcing more and more crude onto long trains to make up for inadequate pipeline capacity, Warren Buffett’s BNSF has opened bids to buy 5,000 safer transport cars.

The move follows a series of high-profile rail accidents and spills, including a July derailment that killed 47 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

Another rail oil tank car incident in February dumped 4,500 gallons of crude in Pennsylvania.

Bids will be put out to several tank car manufacturers, according to Roxanne Butler, a spokeswoman for BNSF.


BNSF is owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

U.S. oil production is at its highest level in two decades, forcing the use of more trains to move crude oil to refineries and storage centers.

Crude oil shipments by rail hit a record pace of 1.4 million barrels a day in May 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Department.


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