Photo detail

This July 11, 2012 aerial file photo, a freight train is seen after an early morning derailment in Columbus, Ohio. Part of the freight train carrying ethanol derailed and caught fire, shooting flames skyward into the darkness and prompting the evacuation of a mile-wide area as firefighters and hazardous materials crews monitored the blaze. For two decades, one of the nation’s most common types of rail tanker, known as a DOT-111, a workhorse of the American rail fleet, has been allowed to haul hazardous liquids from coast to coast even though transportation officials were aware of a dangerous design flaw that almost guarantees the car will tear open in an accident.

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Common type of rail car has dangerous design flaw

For two decades, one of the most commonly used type of rail tanker has been allowed to haul hazardous liquids from coast to coast even though transportation officials were aware of a dangerous design flaw that almost guarantees the car will tear open in an accident, potentially spilling cargo that could catch fire, explode or contaminate the environment.

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