AAR and FRA Task Force to Have a Major Impact on Manways. Are Your Railcars Ready?

By OPW | Apr 01, 2019

Between 2012 and 2017, overall tank-car Non-Accidental Releases (NAR) have declined by 18.2%, and NARs attributed to manway covers have declined by 51.9%. While these stats are encouraging, regulatory bodies, like the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), are looking to make even greater reductions. This is why the focus is turning to manways. Manways remain the leading cause of all NARs on tank-cars, having made up over 25% of tank-car NARs in 2017. In order to address the issue, the AAR Tank Car Committee, in collaboration with the FRA, initiated a new docket; Docket T94.31: “Consider Removal of the 6-bolt and 8-bolt Hinged and Bolted Manway Assembly.”

Here is what you need to know to stay ahead of the change and stay compliant:

  • The initial docket is slated to create a task force for the removal of manway covers.
  • A review of performance standards and improvement areas may be considered in order to reduce NARs without total removal of manways.
  • TCC plans to open up the task force for volunteers at its April 16-18 meeting.
  • The task force could be combined with TCC Docket T95.28: “Manway Standard Hardware and Material Requirements.”

Eliminating manway covers would have a wide-ranging impact across all segments of the railway industry, including shippers, car owners, car builders and repair facilities. Rail shippers would experience the largest financial and workload impact of manway elimination, as most existing loading infrastructure is based on open loading through manways.

Midland will be participating on the upcoming task force, and we encourage all interested parties to volunteer. Incorporating input from across the industry will ensure a more positive outcome.

You can stay up-to-date on this, and other industry trends, by following along with Midland on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and visiting aar.org.