Does coal in coal trains sometimes spontaneously combust?

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Does coal in coal trains sometimes spontaneously combust?

Postby Passenger » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:56 am

Or is that an urban legend?
Nonsense is nonsense, but the history of nonsense is a very important science.
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Re: Does coal in coal trains sometimes spontaneously combust

Postby CarterB » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:00 pm

Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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Re: Does coal in coal trains sometimes spontaneously combust

Postby Passenger » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:04 pm

Thanks.
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Re: Does coal in coal trains sometimes spontaneously combust

Postby Engineer Spike » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:24 pm

I was on a coal train on BNSF in late 1999- early 2000. My run was Creston, IA, to Galesburg,IL. Approaching Burlington, IA, a westbound reported a car of coal on fire. The fire department came to put it out.

At the time, the farmers were burning brush from their fields. Who knows if hot embers did it, or spontaneous combination. I tend to think it was spontaneous combustion, since the firefighters were using a thermal imaging tool. They were digging down because some of the hot spots were below the surface. The movement of the car certainly created enough draft, which enabled the fire to grow.
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