University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

News Journal: Delaware oil train traffic may jump 70 percent

Behind his Bear Crossing house and past the backyard where his 2-year-old daughter plays, Evan Grabowski has a clear picture of America's flourishing domestic oil business. Most days, an idling Norfolk Southern Corp. locomotives sits, with a mile-long chain of tank cars full of highly valuable – but also volatile – crude-oil in tow.

"Everyone talks about the noise and the lights at the railroad crossing going off all the time," said Grabowski, a member of the local residents' association that often discusses the issue. "With all the explosions in other places on the news and all those cars sitting there, people are concerned."

Grabowski sees tank cars on the last leg of a journey to the Delaware City Refinery, a 5,000-acre complex that can convert up to 191,000 barrels of crude every day into gasoline, diesel and other fuels for distribution.

Deliveries could increase up to 60 to 70 percent compared to the final quarter of 2014, based on average car capacities, refinery officials said recently. A change of that size would put as many as 140 additional rail cars on Delaware tracks daily.