UP 8183 - Coal Dust - Chester Subdivision - 2/5/05

Union Pacific 8183 leads a loaded coal train south on the Union Pacific Chester Subdivision at mile post 26.The train is south of Valmeyer, Illinois, and north of Chalfin Bridge, Illinois. 

Coal dust

The black looking smoke is actually coal dust flying off of the coal in the hopper cars. While the occurrence of coal dust flying off of coal happens, it generally occurs closer to where the coal is loaded. Most of the loaded coal trains that come through St. Louis originate in the Powder River Coal Basin in Wyoming, and by the time they reach the Midwest the coal dust has long since blow off. So, I'm not sure why this train's load of coal still had so much dust flying off of it. One possibility, I suppose, is that the train did not originate in Wyoming, but closer to St. Louis. The train could have come from a coal mine in Illinois, or the coal could have been trans-loaded from a river barge. By the time UP 8183 and its train reached Chester, Illinois, the coal dust was no longer blowing off of the train. To my recollection, this was the only time I saw a loaded coal train with coal dust blowing off of the train.

Photograph taken: near Chalfin Bridge, Illinois, on February 5, 2005.


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