Heading back from a rather nasty bit of weather today I noted the the rail line near Deming was getting some heavy duty maintenance. Lots of new ties and rails. I have to admit that the amount of drippage or bleeding from the new ties caught my attention. And like many Washington State residences, trains have been part of the news for the past few years with coal export trains passing through the state and oil rail cars supplying refineries in the State with oil from the new fields in North Dakota (oil-boom-in-western-north-dakota)
The EPA went through a round of assessing creosote treated products and requires registration but concluded given the risks versus benefits versus alternatives that creosote can continue to be used EPA Registration Eligibility for Creosote. Other products do not work as well or have other impacts that are undesirable. Other than following the issue due to some of the consulting work I do, I would only add that if one wants to get immersed in the subject of poly aromatic hydrocarbons in the environment there is plenty of reading.
From a geology perspective, I did notice this block of sandstone with what appears to be a shatter pattern related to a blasting near a rock cut the rail line passes through.
The rail line workers were hard at it along the siding and main line at Deming as I drove by. At the far end of the line of various equipment was a small rail car portable outhouse that can be seen at the far end of the line in the picture below.
West of Deming the new rail ties were being unloaded using a modified backhoe that clamps onto the container cars. My aim was bad as I drove by so I missed the suspended load in the picture.
With coal and oil transport taking up the main coastal line, BNSF appears to be investing in upgrading this line that essentially parallels Washington Highway 9 and follows the lower South Fork Nooksack River valley then leaves the Nooksack and heads toward Sumas and the Canadian border.
Cold day for the rail workers but better than post holing through snow and slush in the woods like I had been earlier.