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Interpretation Response #21-0005

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Rescar Companies

Individual Name: J. Andrew Schaffer

Location State: PA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 21, 2021

J. Andrew Schaffer
Executive Vice President
Rescar Companies
900 Oklahoma Salem Road
DuBois, PA  15801

Reference No. 21-0005

Dear Mr. Schaffer

This letter is in response to your January 21, 2021, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the requirements for a Quality Assurance Program (QAP) for tank service equipment maintenance, repair, removal, and replacement. Specifically, you ask whether the original tank car service equipment drawings provided to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) by the component manufacturers during the approval process for tank car service equipment must be obtained by the repair facility under § 179.7(b)(3) and (6), or if the monitoring and control of processes and product characteristics during tank car service equipment maintenance, repair, removal, and replacement as specified in §§ 180.509(k) and 180.513(b) may fulfill these requirements.

Section 179.7(a) requires tank car facilities to have a QAP approved by AAR that (1) ensures the finished product conforms to the requirements of the applicable specification and regulations of this subchapter; (2) has the means to detect any nonconformity in the manufacturing, repair, inspection, testing, and qualification or maintenance program of the tank car; and (3) prevents non-conformities from recurring. Pursuant to § 179.7(b), the QAP must have certain elements, to include "[p]rocedures to ensure that the latest applicable drawings, design calculations, specifications, and instructions are used in manufacture, inspection, testing, and repair" as specified in paragraph (3). As such, these elements are necessary to meet the requirements of both § 179.7(a) and (b) and to ensure the maintained and repaired tank cars conform to the specification to which they were originally manufactured.

Section 179.7(d) states that each tank car facility shall provide written procedures to its employees to ensure that the work on the tank car conforms to the specification, AAR approval, and owner's acceptance criteria. In the absence of the latest applicable specification drawings, written procedures may be acceptable for this purpose provided they are appropriately detailed and include all the information necessary to ensure the tank car service equipment and, subsequently, the tank cars conform to the specification to which they were originally manufactured. If a tank car facility relies on written procedures alone, without associated drawings and specifications, they must ensure that the instructions are developed utilizing an AAR approved design(s). The instructions must contain enough information that any nonconformity in the tank car or equipment can be identified, remedied, and prevented from recurring in accordance with § 179.7(a). This is determined on a case-by-case basis and subject to the tank car and service equipment specifications.

Finally, please note that §§ 180.509(k) and 180.513(b), and § 179.7(b)(3) and (6) are complementary requirements. Therefore, compliance with §§ 180.509(k) and 180.513(b) may not be viewed as creating an exception from any of the QAP requirements in § 179.7.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we may be of further assistance.


Shane C. Kelley
Director, Standards and Rulemaking Division
Office of Hazardous Materials Safety

179.7, 179.7(a), 179.7(b), 179.7(b)(3), 179.7(b)(6), 179.7(d), 180.509(k), 180.513(b)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
179.7 Quality assurance program
180.509 Requirements for inspection and test of specification tank cars
180.513 Repairs, alterations, conversions, and modifications