28 May 2014

Lorne Stockman, lorne [at] priceofoil [dot] org
David Turnbull, david [at] priceofoil [dot] org

New Report Outlines the Rise of Crude-by-Rail in North America
First Major Analysis of Booming Bomb Trains Industry

 Today Oil Change International released the first major exposé of the burgeoning crude-by-rail industry in North America, detailing where crude trains are being loaded and unloaded, how many oil trains are crossing the North American continent, and what companies are involved.

Runaway Train: The Reckless Expansion of Crude By Rail in North America is the first in a series, exposing North America’s booming crude-by-rail industry. It is published in conjunction with the launch of a unique interactive online map of crude-by-rail terminals and potential routes in North America.

The report and map can be found at

“This analysis shows just how out of control the oil industry is in North America today. Regulators are unable to keep up with the industry’s expansion-at-any-cost mentality, and public safety is playing second fiddle to industry profits,” said Lorne Stockman, Research Director of Oil Change International and author of the report.

“This is what the All of the Above Energy Strategy looks like – a runaway train headed straight for North American communities,” Stockman said.

The report shows that there are currently over 230 crude-by-rail terminals in Canada and the United States either in operation, expanding, under construction or planned.

Today, one million barrels of crude oil per day is loaded and unloaded on the North American rail network, meaning roughly 135 trains of 100 cars each are moving dangerous crude oil each day through the continent. But if used at full capacity, existing loading and unloading terminals could handle 3.5 times more crude-by-rail traffic and by 2016 that capacity could grow to over 5 times current levels.

“Communities are already waking up to the dangers of oil trains barreling through their backyards, with spills, explosions and derailments happening all too often. This report and online tool will help provide the critical information that’s been sorely missing in order to shine a light on what’s really going on, and to help stop the runaway train of crude-by-rail in its tracks before more damage is done,” Stockman said.

The  oil industry is simultaneously pushing both new pipelines and increased crude-by-rail on the North American public and recent pipeline spills and train accidents show that the neither is safe. Spills from both transport methods are on the rise.

This report comes ahead of a nation-wide week of action planned for July 6 – 13 in opposition to oil by rail organized by Oil Change International, ForestEthics,, the Sierra Club, residents of Lac-Mégantic, and a number of other organizations. See more at

Future reports in this series by Oil Change International will look at the economics of crude-by-rail, safety, and climate change issues. Please see for the map and links to reports and data.



  • Oil companies are permitted to leverage tax-base provided public infrastructure; allowed to use sub-standard equipment when safer models exist; endanger our shared public spaces, landscapes, parks, rivers, water; and interrupt our local communities while at the same time receiving deep tax exemptions.

    What is going on here? This is ludicrous and shameful.

  • We noticed on your interactive map that you have only one of three proposed crude oil terminals for Hoquiam, Washington. The two missing are Westway Terminals and Imperium, a total of 2.7 billion gallons in a year’s time.

  • Linda, we appreciate feedback and information from the ground to update and correct the map. Actually, all three terminals in Hoquiam, WA are there it’s just that they are so close together you can’t see them unless you zoom into the map. Thanks for you support!

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