Alaska Railroad to be first to haul LNG by rail

OREANDA-NEWS. September 21, 2016. The Alaska Railroad said it plans to demonstrate that LNG can safely be transported by rail in a month-long test beginning on 27 September.

The project will be the first time in the US that LNG has been hauled by rail. LNG normally ships by truck in the US, but it has been transported by rail in Japan for decades.

The carrier will use intermodal containers to transport LNG from south-central Alaska to the state's interior. Vancouver, Canada-based Hitachi High-Tech AW Cryo lent two 40ft containers to the railroad for the project.

The insulated steel containers carry up to 7,000 USG (26,500 liters) of LNG at -160°C (-260°F). They comply with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and T75 regulatory standards for fortified tank walls and other protections.

Hitachi is "one of several T75-compliant ISO tank makers interested in Alaska's LNG market," the railroad said.

The tankers will be trucked to the Titan LNG facility near Port Mackenzie, then filled with Alaskan LNG and loaded onto flatcars at the Anchorage rail yard. They will be hauled 350 miles north with other freight to Fairbanks. There they will be transported by truck another five miles to the Fairbanks natural gas storage facility.

The tankers will run twice a week through October, the railroad said. The Federal Railroad Administration in October 2015 approved the carrier's project proposal.