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U.S. senator call for plan to increase crude oil railcar safety

A fire from a train derailment burns uncontrollably as seen in this aerial photograph Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, west of Casselton, N.D. Michael Vosburg

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Monday will renew a call on federal authorities for a plan to retrofit or phase out certain older models of tank cars involved in a series of hazardous material spills during derailments.

The New York Democrat will say that incidents involving the older DOT-111 tank cars require a corresponding increase in safety measures, according to a release from his office.

Schumer will call on the U.S. Department of Transportation to finish a rulemaking process that will impose requirements on freight rail carriers to phase out or retrofit the cars to avoid potential explosions, oil spills or other dangerous occurrences.

Schumer made similar demands last summer after the deadly derailment and explosion of a tanker train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, which killed 47 people.

In the latest incident involving DOT-111 cars, a 106-car BNSF crude train crashed into a grain train near Casselton, N.D., on Dec. 30. The resulting fire sent flames shooting more than 100 feet into the air and burned for more than 24 hours.