Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today's Train of Thought- Talking Trash, June 8, 2011

Today's train of thought revolves around a commodity that American railroads had overlooked until fairly recently- and for good reason according to some.

The July 2011 issue of Trains had a pretty good write-up on cities that had gradually run out of room for trash and waste at nearby landfills, sending their trash to a handful of out-of-state landfills and how the rail industry was seemingly poised to take advantage.

One of the first metropolitan areas to experiment with using rail to ship garbage out of town was Seattle. Typically, instead of being trucked out of town, the trash was compacted into cubes and loaded into containers for a 300 mile trek to a landfill in Southern Washington. Aside from some tweaks to the trains routing, the flatcars and containers, not much has changed in the last 15 years or so.

To the north, Sonomish County got into the act and began setting up transload facilities where the trash is consolidated and moved south by rail to a landfill in the hills overlooking the Colombia river at Roosevelt, WA.

Here, contributor Andrew Kim caught southbound BNSF symbol freight U- EVEROO (Everett, WA to Roosevelt, WA) snaking along Puget sound in Edmonds, WA with former Santa Fe SD40-2 #6887 leading two cascade green SD40-2s and a string of loaded garbage containers behind them right before sunset on an October 2007 day.

With Mt Baker off in the distance, there is no doubt that that is a very scenic location along the former Great Northern mainline. However, we should probably be glad that this image isn't available in that proposed smell-o-vision format.

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