And Yet Again Another Derailment

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

WWW

No real RR Job
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
319
Location
MSP
Apparently no leaks, obviously no fires. Were these loads or empties? No way of knowing from the press reports.
Cars contained ethanol - the stuff blended with winter gasoline - a few cars leaking but not gushing out of control.
In the video the cars just rolling off the track like someone just gave them a healthy push.
Two cars at the intersection with County Road 39 (Bixby Road) - off the tracks and took out the signal arms.
Laurel and Hardy - "Another fine mess" !

Happened on UP tracks in vicinity of the Fairmont MN Green Plains Ethanol plant - Google Map Link center - zoom in for details


Green Plains Ethanol info:

 

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,363
Location
Nottingham, England.
I did not view the video, but some sidings have "catch points" to derail wagons in order to protect the main rail line. Wagons that are parked without sufficient hand brakes applied can move once the air in the brake system leaks away, if not replenished by the loco.
(A major accident a few years back was caused by this leaking away of brake pressure).
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
13,167
Location
Delaware
Watch at the very beginning of the video. On the left side of the crossing you can see a piece of wood flipped up by a wheel. Maybe another piece of wood got caught up in the wheels of the first car that flipped over.

EDIT: Just watched on my laptop (not my small screen phone) and I see that the car(s) to the left of the grade crossing are already derailed. Which caused one to flip something that I initially thought was a piece of wood.
 
Last edited:

MARC Rider

Engineer
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,815
Location
Baltimore. MD
Cars contained ethanol - the stuff blended with winter gasoline
Ethanol is now blended in most of the gasoline sold in the US all year round. My 2017 Toyota can run on a blend of up to 15% with no adjustments needed. I think older cars can only run on blends of up to 10%. Google "renewable fuels standard" to get more information. It's a kind of indirect subsidy to the corn farmers, at least until they figure out how to make cellulosic ethanol cheaply.

At least it dilutes pretty rapidly and is biodegradeable. A leak of refined petroleum product would be a real mess. Its main hazard is that it's very flammable, as anyone who has ever made a flambeed dish knows.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,581
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
With ethanol, at most there would a very drunk lot of wildlife around the place for a bit perhaps :D The bacterial fauna may not appreciate it much though. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ It does evaporate quite rapidly too.
 

Devil's Advocate

β€β€β€Ž β€Žβ€β€β€Ž β€Žβ€β€β€Ž β€Žβ€β€β€Ž β€Žβ€β€β€Ž β€Žβ€β€β€Ž β€Žβ€β€β€Ž β€Žβ€β€β€Ž β€Žβ€β€β€Ž β€Žβ€β€β€Ž β€Ž
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,793
Location
EOTL
It's a kind of indirect subsidy to the corn farmers, at least until they figure out how to make cellulosic ethanol cheaply.
It takes more energy to farm and ship virgin ethanol than can be productively derived from burning it. Instead of focusing on results oriented solutions American ethanol mandates are subsidies masquerading as environmental policy that pretend to make things better while actually making them even worse.
 

joelkfla

Conductor
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
1,036
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Watch at the very beginning of the video. On the left side of the crossing you can see a piece of wood flipped up by a wheel. Maybe another piece of wood got caught up in the wheels of the first car that flipped over.

EDIT: Just watched on my laptop (not my small screen phone) and I see that the car(s) to the left of the grade crossing are already derailed. Which caused one to flip something that I initially thought was a piece of wood.
I think that was the rubber grade crossing panel that went flying.
 

MARC Rider

Engineer
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,815
Location
Baltimore. MD
It takes more energy to farm and ship virgin ethanol than can be productively derived from burning it. Instead of focusing on results oriented solutions American ethanol mandates are subsidies masquerading as environmental policy that pretend to make things better while actually making them even worse.
That may have been true 20 years ago, but it's not necessarily true now.
Five Ethanol Myths, Busted | WIRED

If they can figure out how to make cellulosic ethanol (i.e. from trash, waste woodchips, lawn clippings, etc.) cheaply, the net energy balance is even better.

I do agree that growing corn to simply burn it is a waste of resources and has negative effects on food availability, but it's not quite as bad as some people make it out to be. Higher ethanol blends do increase the engine-out NOx emissions, but all cars sold in the US today have catalytic converters that remove the NOx from what comes out the tailpipe. The downsides of ethanol have to be balanced against the downsides of other petroleum fuel alternatives. Hydrogen fuel requires a lot of electricity, and so do battery electric vehicles. The electric grid is still heavily dependent on coal and natural gas to generate power, so greenhouse gas benefits from electric vehicles will depend on how the grid is powered. Although the technology for generating electricity from solar energy and wind power has made great advances, it's still a long way before they can significantly replace CO2-emitting fossil fuels. In the short run, the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation is probably to just drive less.
 

Qapla

Engineer
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
2,185
Location
Gator Country Florida
Sorghum produces a more potent ethanol and can thrive on less-than-optimal growing conditions. It would be better to grow sorghum in areas that cannot readily produce corn and other edible grains and use more sorghum and less corn to produce ethanol ... but then, that would make common sense and help more people - we can't have that πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ
 

Latest posts

Top