Submission Number: MBTL-SEPA-DEIS-0002260
Received: 6/9/2016 10:22:38 AM
Commenter: William Brake
Agency: Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview SEPA DEIS
Attachments: No Attachments
The Crude Oil Rail Derailment in Mosier Oregon On June 3, 2016 where 4 rail cars caught fire and a total of 16 came off the tracks is still under investigation. The preliminary report is a broken clip holding the rail to the cross tie failed. This information is from news reports .
Thermal expansion of rail track is a great concern in this aging mode of transportation. In the past rails were 39 feet in length with a gap between rails that allowed for expansion and contraction. The rail cars went "Clickity - Clack" at each gap.
Now new rail systems are continuous welded rail (CWR) that are more subject to thermal growth and contraction.
A 1,000 foot CRW that has a 20 F Temperature Change from night to day grows 1.56 inches. On a hot day with repetitive rail traffic and sunshine the actual rail temperature can be 20 C or 68 F above ambient temperature making thermal growth even more challenging. In a typical 1,000 foot CRW this 68 F temperature change can result in thermal growth of 5.30 inches .
The two numbers are additive so 1.56 inches plus 5.30 inches equals 6.86 inches on a 1,000 foot length.
Consider also curves where the outside rail is longer than the inside rail and the problems get even worse.
Continuing this to a one mile section and the thermal growth is 35.67 inches or nearly a yardstick.
Derailments are not limited to crude oil unit trains but also include coal unit trains both which are very heavy and very long in length.
A 1,200 mile rail track from the coal mine or crude oil production field to the west coast terminal can have thermal growth of 3,567 feet or 2/3 of a mile.
It is all about math and physics with the coefficient of linear thermal expansion for carbon steel at 0.0000065 inches/degree/inch length .
All the parts of the rail system have to work 100 % correct or a derailment can and will occur. Rail temperatures in Washington State can be from -20 F in the high snow covered mountains to near 170 F in a hot sunny afternoon sunshine day.
Do your own calculations for this temperature change and then consider the No Action Alternative for this Coal Project.
The rail systems in the pacific northwest were built 125 years ago for passenger and short haul timber, Not for the 125 car unit trains of heavy loaded rail locomotives and rail cars.