Transfer of Dangerous Goods

The Alberta government has issued Industrial Railway Circular No. 1 (Guideline for the Transfer of Dangerous Goods to or from a Railway Vehicle).

Although only a 7 page document, there are 11 sections:

  1. General
  2. Exceptions
  3. Notification/site selection
  4. Primary selection criteria
  5. Additional selection criteria
  6. Approvals
  7. Inspections
  8. Training
  9. Documentation
  10. Notification
  11. Regulatory requirements

The guideline falls under the Railway (Alberta) Act and applies to companies that intend to transfer dangerous goods to or from a railway vehicle. This circular does not apply to Class 1 Explosives. These must be handled under the Federal Handling of Carloads of Explosives on Railway Trackage Regulations.

Railways that intend to construct or connect railway track to a service provider or construct railway works must have approval from the provincial government. Site selection is done in accordance with sections 4 and 5, and if the criteria cannot be met, the application may still be considered if an equivalent level of safety can be demonstrated.

The guideline suggests a dangerous goods transfer track/rack should meet minimum distances from residences, commercial establishments, schools, hospitals, recreation centres, etc..

Dangerous Goods Class



100 m


50 m


250 m


450 m

3   excluding inhalation hazard materials

50 m

4.1  molten sulphur

100 m

5.1   excluding inhalation hazard materials

50 m

6.1   excluding inhalation hazard materials

100 m


100 m


50 m

In addition, the site shall not be located next to busy highways, under a bridge or overpass, next to transformers, power lines, sources of ignition, etc.. The site shall be located so that emergency responders can access it as well as be Continue Reading…

Derailment in Columbus, Ohio

At about 2 a.m. Wednesday, approximately 11 cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed southeast of the Ohio State University campus. This track location is north of the downtown area in an industrial section just blocks from residences.

Emergency responders imposed a mile wide evacuation zone, as flames shot skyward. Authorities stated that three of the burning rail cars contained ethanol. In the daylight, authorities decided to let the fire burn itself out. There is no immediate cause known for the derailment. Two people were injured as they ran toward the accident scene before the flammable vapor ignited in an explosion. They were able to get themselves to the hospital.

The American Red Cross opened an evacuation center at the state fairgrounds and was assisting about 50 individuals.

Norfolk Southern said two locomotives and three of the 98 freight cars were removed from the scene without incident.

Ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) is a flammable liquid made by fermentation of a biomass. The flash point for ethanol is -114°C. Although flammability is a major hazard, it is also classified as a depressant drug when ingested. The level of intoxication is determined by the alcohol concentration in the brain. Ethanol is used for a variety of purposes, including, but not limited to: solvent for resins, dyes, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, beverages, antifreeze, explosives and cleaning preparations.