Cinders or dust? Cover the coal cars
February 20, 2013 · Updated 6:23 PM
It appears the biggest fear of environmentalists and some public outcry is about coal cinders or coal dust flying all over the place. Whether this is an actuality or not, I don't know. If this problem is real or perceived, there may be a solution.
My wife and I were making a left turn from 15th Southwest to C Street northbound. In front of us was a very long coal train in the Auburn train yard, the cars uncovered. They appeared to be headed north, to where we don't know. To get to to that point, the train must have traveled through much of the state.
We discussed this in light of the concerns listed above, and decided that coal cars should be covered. We envision that each car has a cover that is pulled across, similar to the home patio awning as seen on TV. Two arms attached to the ends of the car would pull the cover over the coal and fasten tight on the other side. This action would happen soon after the coal is loaded into the car. At the end of the journey, electric motors would pull the cover to its original position. One could call it a motorized venetian blind.
The cost of the retro-fit would be on the shoulders of the coal company or the train company, or both. If compliance is not forthcoming, a law could be passed if the coal company wants to travel through Washington state.
– Steve Soucek