With the Dakota pipeline ordered to shut done, will oil trains increase in number, and wjen....
I'd think yes and when the big valve closes for the last time.
Oil demand and price are way down. The loss of this pipeline capacity may not make much difference. The problem with switching to rail is that the customer has to come up with the tank cars. There was a recent change in the federal specification for tank car design for cars moving crude oil. It is possible that new tank cars would have to be built for this service. I think that there have been new cars built for leases as short as 5 years recently, but the leasing company may have had confidences that follow up leases were a sure thing. That may not be the case now. It would probably take one to two years to build enough new tank cars to run this kind of service. Railroads are sort of a public utility, if a costumer request shipment of oil in properly built tank cars, which have been properly loaded, they have to move it.
I retired from the railroad recently. oil producers seem to prefer rail because they also use the transit time as storage for there product as well as being able to re consine the loads enroute. the costs are far less than maintaining there own pipelines , pumping stations and storage facility. There are new and upgraded cars everywhere they are not in short supply we used to store them when things slowed down ( good income for doing nothing). even when prices are down they keep producing and storing the final product because it is such a problem to shut down and restart refineries. and David is correct railroads as a rule don't own hazmat cars but are required to move them as long as they are properly documented.
It’s been a while now but before I moved out of Northeastern PA the Reading & Northern had them stored all over. By the 100s. From what I was told by some of their employees the cars were all empty just waiting to go to work.
Not only was the pipeline ordered shut-down, it was ordered to be emptied. The judgement was based on Native American water sources being in jeopardy from an oil spill. My immediate thought was that that would bring some oil trains back into service, but imagine the pipeline companies will counter litigate like mad.