Q&A on CSX Safety and Regulations

Safe Oil Shipping Practices:
Q&A on CSX Safety and Crude Oil Regulations

At CSX, safety is a way of life. We are relentless in the pursuit of safety improvements, by implementing ever-higher standards and collaborating with industry peers, shippers and customers, regulatory agencies and the communities where we live and work. The safe movement of crude oil is a business imperative for CSX and its customers, and as the market for shipping crude oil by rail has grown, so has our commitment to and responsibility for moving those shipments safely and efficiently. We understand that recent incidents and announcements involving the shipment of crude oil have raised many questions, which we hope to answer here.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at [email protected].

What precautions does CSX take to protect crude oil trains?

Safe operating practices for trains transporting crude oil on CSX are the sum of federal regulations, industry commitments, and additional CSX initiatives.

Federal regulations:  At CSX, we follow strict Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines for transporting all hazardous materials, including crude oil. CSX’s crude-by-rail shipping practices meet or exceed federal regulations, including those contained in the Federal Railroad Administration’s Emergency Order and Safety Advisory of August 2, 2013, which was issued following the tragedy in Quebec.

Industry commitments: Through the Association of American Railroads (AAR), CSX voluntarily committed to the Department of Transportation to enact additional safety measures for crude oil shipments, with more stringent practices for trains transporting 20 or more cars of crude oil. Read the AAR press release for more information on the most recent commitments, which include operational, mechanical and community relations initiatives.

CSX initiatives: Oil trains are handled with the extra precautions that we apply to all trains carrying hazardous materials on the CSX network. We had already set slower speeds for these trains, and following the DOT agreement will now adhere to a 40 mph maximum speed within the boundaries of federally-designated high threat urban areas. Priority is given to crude oil trains on the main track, which decreases stopping, starting and switching. CSX has a network of detection devices to proactively identify defects on train cars and prevent derailments, including eight safety “super sites” that employ state-of-the-art high-speed cameras, lasers, and acoustic imaging. Crude oil trains are never left without a train crew outside of rail yards except under extraordinary circumstances, such as if a major storm makes a track impassable, in which case precautions are taken to prevent tampering or unintended movement.


How safe are my shipments on CSX?

Safety is our top priority. CSX and our customers have a shared interest in the safe transport of your products from origination to destination. CSX is among the nation’s leaders in transportation safety, thanks to sustained investment and rigorous maintenance and inspections of tracks, locomotives, rail cars and technology, as well as extensive employee training and ongoing education. Additionally, CSX’s service planning experts use sophisticated computer modeling to establish routes that minimize the number of miles that rail cars must move and the number of times that they are switched at intermediate terminals.

CSX was the safest Class I railroad in 2012 and 2013, with the lowest personal injury and train accident rates in the industry. Despite this performance, we are never satisfied. Our goal remains zero incidents, and we are actively working with industry peers and regulatory agencies to implement ever-safer operating practices.

Should you be asked by media or elected officials about safe rail practices, please contact our team at [email protected] so we can get you the information you need to adequately communicate about your safe and secure supply chain.


How is CSX coordinating with government agencies to enhance the safety of these shipments?

CSX continually strives to improve the safety of its operations and is actively participating in the DOT’s ongoing review and analysis of crude by rail shipments.

CSX supports the Association of American Railroads (AAR) in urging the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to take a measured approach to strengthening tank car standards.


How else is CSX working in local communities to promote safety?

Collaborating with local communities is a key pillar of CSX’s commitment to safe operations. As part of the recent voluntary standards announced between AAR and DOT, CSX and its industry peers have redoubled their efforts to work closely with communities through which crude oil is shipped to address location-specific concerns, and are also developing an inventory of emergency response resources along crude oil routes.

CSX takes seriously its responsibility to prepare local officials and first responders to handle any rail-related incident. In addition to a CSX-led rapid-response Hazardous Materials Team and incident response contractors, CSX offers face-to-face extensive training for emergency first responders as well as customers. CSX also shares community planning guides to emergency responders across the rail network. Partnering with local organizations, CSX has trained more than 100,000 first responders over the past six years. In September 2013 alone, nearly 100 crude oil customers were trained by a joint team. CSX and its peers committed to contribute an additional $5 million toward specific crude oil-related training for emergency responders along relevant routes.

For more information about training or to request training for your team, contact our crude oil team at [email protected].

Additionally, CSX is expanding its partnership with federal agencies, states and first responders through the company’s SecureNOW system. This technology provides law enforcement and other state public safety officials with access to real-time data about the location of our trains and their contents, including hazardous materials. It is currently in use by every state through which CSX moves crude oil shipments.


How will the recent DOT announcements impact my shipments?

CSX believes that the voluntary safety measures announced by AAR and DOT in late February will further strengthen the company’s safety performance without significantly impacting the fluidity of the network.

CSX supports the appropriate classification of all commodities, including crude oil from the Bakken region. CSX will continue to work with federal regulators, legislators, energy producers, rail car owners, customers and communities to make the safe transportation of energy products even safer.  Each of these parties has a critical role, and a community obligation, to this effort.