• Does Coal Dust Affect Railfan Health?

  • General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment
General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

Moderator: John_Perkowski

  by Denver Dude
Running from Cheyenne down through Denver I believe that coal cars are sprayed with a chemical that helps to keep coal dust from blowing off of coal cars. But that's not the case everywhere.

I have read that each car can lose a pound and a half or so PER MILE. On a 125-car coal train, there is definitely some coal dust in the area at crossings.

Any thoughts on this subject? Overblown?
  by YamaOfParadise
Just spitballing, but: it pretty much has to come down to the amount of time you're exposed to it, which in turn breaks down to how frequently over decades you're railfanning. You'd have to be doing quite a lot of railfanning over your entire lifespan to get anything near an equivalent exposure to what you'd get in an occupational setting.
  by Flat-Wheeler
People complain about dust from trains all the time. The lime plant near some homes used to deposit alot of white lime powder on the tops of covered hoppers, and as they were picked up and rolled away by local trains, you could see the white powder streaming off of them.

Same with grain trains out in the midwest, I'm sure. It's just stupid, these people move nearby, and expect the 50+ years of status quo to change, on account of them. It doesn't hurt to spray them with your own garden hose I suppose. Lol :P
  by Rockingham Racer
Where I grew up, there were no coal trains. Ergo, no issue. So it depends on where you're railfanning, I guess.

Railroads have responded to the coal dust health frenzy [mainly in the mountain and Pacific Northwest states, apparently] by installing sprayers in some locations. Pasco, WA had one put up in recent years on the BNSF. Does CXS or NS have any?
  by Engineer Spike
I can just imagine some lawyer will see this and place ads on daytime tv, during Jerry Springer. It will fit in well with the others advertising lawsuits for asbestos exposure, auto accidents, and sexual abuse in the church or the boy scouts.