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Alaska Railroad to Begin Containerized LNG Shipping Demonstration

The Alaska Railroad plans to begin a demonstration of containerized liquefied natural gas (LNG) rail shipment on Tuesday (Sept. 27). Intermodal LNG tanks will be shipped from Southcentral Alaska to the Interior during a month-long project, making the railroad the first in the country to carry LNG.

Containers full of LNG will be trucked 70 miles to the Titan LNG facility near Port MacKenzie, where they will be filled with Alaska LNG before returning to the Anchorage rail yard to be loaded onto a railroad flatcar and hauled 350 miles north as part of Alaska Railroad's northbound overnight freight train to Fairbanks, the railroad said in a project description. The containers will then be transported by flatbed truck the last 4.5 miles to the Fairbanks Natural Gas storage facility. Empty containers will be carried back on the southbound freight train headed to Anchorage.

Demonstration trips are expected to continue through October. As part of the project, the railroad has provided training to emergency first responders to make them familiar with the LNG containers and their contents.

Alaska's is the first railroad in the country to obtain permission to haul LNG by rail. In October 2015, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approved the railroad's request to move LNG in an effort to eventually help meet Alaska's growing energy needs, particularly in the Interior (see Daily GPIOct. 14, 2015). FRA will review the results of the demonstration project.

Hitachi High-Tech AW Cryo Inc. based in Vancouver, BC, loaned two 40-foot LNG ISO containers to the railroad for the project. The cryogenic containers carry up to 26,586 liters (7,023 gallons) of LNG.

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