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Western Railroad Discussion > BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW


Date: 01/05/13 21:56
BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW
Author: NWRailfan

At MRL's Laurel yard in Laurel, MT BNSF by way of a third party contractor has begun installing testing equipment on coal trains headed to PNW designations. The testing equipment, attached to individual coal cars, is designed to measure coal dust loss and take air quality samples. The purpose for these tests is not a new battle with fouled ROW problems but is an attempt by the BNSF to record data about air and environmental pollution from coal trains headed to the PNW after all the negative publicity the five proposed west coast coal export terminals have been receiving by environmental groups and the general public worried about delays caused by the increased rail traffic at grade crossings.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/05/13 22:16 by NWRailfan.



Date: 01/05/13 23:16
Re: BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW
Author: asheldrake

This is a very good move.....is there any official announcement about this project?



Date: 01/06/13 07:56
Re: BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW
Author: NWRailfan

Nope the've tested a coupe trains (maybe more) so far and kept it pretty quiet.



Date: 01/06/13 10:21
Re: BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW
Author: railstiesballast

One has to be careful when asking questions that you don't know the answers to, so the BNSF is understandably cautious.
But we hope facts will trump emotions in the environmental debates.

I have heard claims from the people objecting to the coal trains that they find black particles on their cars and property that "proves" coal dust is blown off the trains. I also find black particles on my property both here about 4 miles from the RR and when I lived in suburban Los Angeles over 10 miles from any rail line. I don't know what they are, but I am sure that they are not coal particles.



Date: 01/06/13 13:57
Re: BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW
Author: a737flyer

"Trumping fears with facts," is inconsistent with people in the Pacific Northwest.



Date: 01/06/13 14:02
Re: BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW
Author: radar

It's about time they did this, although I agree that they may not like the findings. If that's the case it will be the last time we hear about the study.

TVW is running a pretty good documentary on coal in the northwest. One of the people they interviewed was a retired engineer that studied coal dust effects on the ROW for BNSF. He easily demonstrated the presence of coal dust along the right of way in the Columbia Gorge.

The coal shippers would prevent a significant argument if they simply used covered cars. The fact that they don't is baffling.



Date: 01/06/13 14:59
Re: BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW
Author: SilvertonRR100

> The coal shippers would prevent a significant
> argument if they simply used covered cars. The
> fact that they don't is baffling.


The cost of covering cars would be staggering. One lignite mine in the Dakota's loaded cars with hinged lids. There was a lot of appartus to lift the hinged lids and lower them back once the coal was inside. Unloading was by rotary dumping but that did rewquire the train to be going with the hinge side away from the side they were rotated toward. ie. a lot of hassles that lead the power plant to eventually go to PRB coal.

Why doesn't the BNSF just wet the coal down at say, Pasco?

Rob



Date: 01/06/13 15:25
Re: BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW
Author: howeld

Just need to use covered grain hoppers. No flood loading or rotary dump. The enviro weenies cant complain about dust and no new technology to build and test.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/06/13 20:55
Re: BNSF tests coal dust problem in PNW
Author: asheldrake

Following a STB March 2011 decision, BNSF has established a coal loading rule that requires shippers to apply a
topping agent that reduces 85% or more of coal dust releases from shipments. This PNW environmentalist believes
that coal dust is not an issue in the Columbia River Gorge.......we can argue diesel exhaust emissions and
rail crossing delays but I think the railroads have, to protect their road beds, mostly solved the coal dust
problem.
Maybe BNSF is checking the loads to see if the shippers are complying with the BNSF rule. Arlen



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