Alaska Railroad to begin LNG transport tests

Image courtesy of the Alaska Railroad
Image courtesy of the Alaska Railroad

The Alaska Railroad said it is preparing for the first transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail in the U.S. state of Alaska.

The chilled fuel will be transported in intermodal LNG ISO containers from southcentral to interior Alaska during a month-long operational performance project that will start next week.

According to the Alaska Railroad, the first scheduled twice-weekly test trip will occur on September 27 with demonstration trips from Anchorage to Fairbanks continuing through October.

Hitatchi High-Tech AW Cryo, Inc. based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has loaned two LNG ISO containers to the Alaska Railroad for the project, the company said in a statement, adding that the cryogenic containers can carry up to 26,586 liters (7,023 gallons) of LNG.

“Train crews will become familiar with LNG characteristics and safe handling procedures. ARRC is also training railbelt first response agencies September 19-23, when dozens of firefighters, emergency medical teams, police and other responders have an opportunity to become familiar with the LNG ISO containers, along with other freight and passenger railcars.”

Containers will be trucked 70 miles to the Titan LNG facility near Port MacKenzie where they will be filled with Alaska LNG, before returning to the Anchorage rail yard to be loaded onto a railroad flatcar and hauled 350 miles north as part of ARRC’s northbound overnight freight train to Fairbanks.

Here, the ISO containers will be transported by flatbed truck the last 4.5 miles to the Fairbanks Natural Gas storage facility.

Empty ISO containers will be re-loaded onto a railroad flatcar and added to the southbound freight train headed to Anchorage, the statement reads.

The Alaska Railroad says it is the first railroad in the country to obtain permission to haul LNG by rail. In October last year, the Federal Railroad Administration approved ARRC’s request to move LNG in an effort to eventually help meet Alaska’s growing energy needs, particularly in Interior Alaska.

“Since then, ARRC has coordinated with FRA and other local, state and federal agencies to take the next steps in developing LNG as a potential line of business,” it said.

While the demonstration is not an FRA requirement, ARRC must meet several operating conditions that are addressed while planning and preparing for the demonstration project.

Results will be reviewed with the FRA to ensure regulators are satisfied with ARRC’s ability to safely move LNG, the company added.

 

LNG World News Staff

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