Not belonging to a special interest group, I am a private citizen concerned about adding 18 coal trains to the current daily number of two to six trains at the proposed terminal at Cherry Point. This number would likely impact passenger rail service and adversely affect the transport of freight other than coal. BNSF has not spoken as to who would pay for the upgrades the Washington State rail system would need or what kind of physical and economic disruption such upgrades would cause.
The coal dust is a problem, according to a study done by Burlington Northern Santa Fe itself, in that each car on a coal train releases 500 to 2,000 pounds of this dust over the course of its 1,500-mile journey from Montana. Thus, a typical 125-150 car coal train could release up to 300,000 pounds of coal per trip! Experts say the chemical sprays used to control the coal dust are potentially hazardous. Consultants from the cities the trains would travel through suggest severe traffic congestion due to the proposed increases in rail traffic. If Cherry Point terminal is approved, additional terminals like the one being considered at Longview will likely add reason for all of us to be more than concerned.