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Our look at
Propane Trains

Shipping Marcellus Shale gas liquids by rail with Hazmat Placard 1075

Some areas of the Marcellus Shale produce 'wet gas' that is rich in hydrocarbons such as propane, ethane, butane and more. These gas liquids come out of the wells with the methane, and need to be separated or 'stripped' from the methane before it is 'pipeline ready' for househould use.

These gas liquids add considerable value to production activities. Much of the talk in early 2012 concerned ethane, and where an ethane 'cracker' might be built; Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia?

Markwest Houston Rail Yard
Markwest Houston Rail Yard
1084 Western Avenue
Washington, PA 15301

Rail car loading area

  Loading stations along 4 rail spurs



LPG by railroad
MarkWest Railout


October 2012 video of railout:


In the meantime, other operations are underway that ship gas liquids, such as propane, in LPG railcars. The Rook Railyard, part of the Wheeling & Lake Erie RR (W&LE), grew in 2011 due to increased inbound shipments of frac sand and outbound shipments of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Tractor trailer loads of LPG are brought into the railyard and loaded onto railcars for shipment to markets outside the Pittsburgh area.

In early 2012, one of the major processors of wet gas in the Pittsburgh tri-state area began construction of a new rail spur from Westland, Pa to a connection with the W&LE southwest of Pittsburgh. MarkWest plans to initially rail-out 30 railcars of propane per day from their Houston Pennsylvania gas processing plant to the W&LE mainline, and eventually shipping four 50-railcar trains (200 railcars) of propane per day.

This page takes a look at 'propane trains' and related operations around the Marcellus Shale in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Carnegie, Pa

GLNX tank car

Tank car next to a truck with hoses and a ladder for transferring LPG to the rail car from a tractor trailer

May 2014 video of Rook Rail Yard
LPG rail car

Orange windsock near the top center loading point on the rail car

LPG connector for tractor trailer

Hose end that connects to tractor trailers

Tank car couplers
Couplers on these tank cars look different than standard US rail car couplers
Propane tank car
UTLX tank car with another truck load-out on the same rail siding

Rail load-out siding for liquified petroleum gas

Tank cars ready to load on a siding in the Rook Yard

NATX tank car

Hazmat Placard 1075
Butane, Isobutane, Liquefied Petroleum Gas and Propane

PROCOR rail car for gas liquids

PROCOR tank car in the Rook Railyard

LPG tractor trailer loading onto rail car
LPG tractor trailer off-loading onto tank car
Hazmat placard 3295 Liquified Petroleum Gas
3295 Hydrocarbons, liquid, n.o.s.
Hazmat Placard on a tractor trailer in the Rook Railyard
Liquified Petroleum Gas tanker truck
LPG tractor trailer entering the Rook Railyard
LPG valves on a rail car
Connections and valves on top of a tank car


Propane rail cars decouple in Pittsburgh
Washington State Marine & Rail Oil Transportation Study - Preliminary Findings & Recommendations
Propane rail car fire - 5,000 evacuated - BLEVE
Video of MarkWest rail spur for Propane trains



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