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Thread: how do railroads deal with coal dust.

  1. #1
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    Default how do railroads deal with coal dust.

    Back in 2013 when we lived in Elkton Oregon there were people grumbling about UP wanting to run coal through Eugene Oregon. The railroads in St. Louis and here in Olathe Kansas run coal all the time and there is never any dust. How do they control dust on coal trains?

  2. #2
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    I think two ways are in use.
    For uncovered coal cars, some or most railroads keep coal train speeds under 45 mph. Most debris and dust associated with coal transport in open cars begins at just over 40 mph. If you stay under that, very little dust or debris results (which saves tonnage as well).
    I notice some coal trains on high speed routes, are running with tarp coverings in place. This would allow coal trains to run at track speed if enough horsepower is available to maintain that speed with the heavy trains. It would also account for weather related degradation such as from high winds or rain or snow.

  3. #3
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    I've seen coal trains going pretty close to track speed here (60mph), and they were open, so BNSF isn't all that worried, I guess. There's some dust, but not too much, at least not here. I know LTV would spray their ore trains with water before leaving the plant (they didn't run much during the winter, so freezing wasn't a major problem). For a 1000+ mile run, though, that's not really feasible

  4. #4
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    Do any US roads do this to coal trains?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELubMu7bmGE

    There is a coal storage area in North St. Louis near the river where they use a conveyor belt with an arm on the end with a bucket wheel to pile coal when it isn't needed and they spray it when piling it.

  5. #5

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    I've seen a lot of coal trains at track speed... whatever dust is going to dissipate is going to do so rather quickly, and not at the end of the run.

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