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Our look at
Propane Trains
Shipping Marcellus Shale gas liquids by rail

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

 
Rail car loading area
 

LPG by railroad

 

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.

propane rail car

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.
 

ROOK RAIL YARD
Carnegie, Pa

GLNX tank car
GLNX tank car next to a truck with hoses
and a ladder for transferring LPG
 
 

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 can include among others:
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

 
Windsock in Rook Rail Yard
Tank cars line the tracks of the Rook Yard
in this January 2012 photo
 
 
LINKS
Washington State Marine & Rail Oil Transportation Study - Preliminary Findings & Recommendations New!
Propane rail car fire - 5,000 evacuated - BLEVE
Gas Liquids Processing Plant in Houston, Pa
Video of MarkWest rail spur for Propane trains
Majorsville Gas Liquids Processing Plant
Rook Rail Yard near Pittsburgh
 
 

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