Hump Day Hilarity – actual study: ‘diesel trains may expose passengers to diesel exhaust’

From  the “I can’t believe we needed a study to determine this” and Hansen’s Death Trains department, the actual unedited press release is below, commentary follows.

mp40-6041


Diesel trains may expose passengers to exhaust

Levels of certain airborne pollutants are up to nine times higher in train cars directly behind diesel locomotives than on a busy city street

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO FACULTY OF APPLIED SCIENCE & ENGINEERING

A new study from U of T Engineering finds that diesel trains may expose passengers to elevated levels of certain pollutants, especially if they are sitting directly behind the locomotive.

“Imagine yourself driving down a busy highway in a convertible, and spending your entire commute sitting behind a very large diesel truck,” said Greg Evans, a professor of Chemical Engineering and director of the Southern Ontario Centre for Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR). “That’s comparable to the levels we see here.”

Evans and Dr. Cheol-Heon Jeong, a senior research associate at SOCAAR, measured the concentration of airborne particles using two types of portable instruments: one that detects black carbon (BC) and one that detects ultrafine particles (UFP).

“Black carbon is essentially soot, and is formed right in the cylinder of the diesel engine,” said Evans. UFP are formed when gases in the exhaust condense into microscopic particles less than 100 nanometres in diameter, or about 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Studies have linked both BC and UFP to detrimental health effects, although evidence is still emerging and not conclusive. However, both measurements also act as proxies for the complex mixture of gases in diesel exhaust, which is an established carcinogen and associated with respiratory, cardiovascular and reproductive health effects.

In prior research, Evans and his team have found elevated levels of BC and UFP next to busy streets and highways. One day, Jeong left the sensors turned on during his morning commute on the train — it wasn’t until he saw the data that he and Evans realized how high the numbers were inside cars pulled by diesel locomotives.

“We were quite surprised, and after making confirmation measurements we got in touch with Metrolinx to let them know of the potential issue,” said Evans. Metrolinx is the transit authority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Over the course of 43 trips, the team gathered more data from inside commuter train cars. They also took measurements while walking along busy streets in downtown Toronto for comparison. In a paper published in Atmospheric Environment, they report that:

  • Cars being pulled by diesel trains and located directly behind the locomotive had an average of nine times the levels of BC and UFP compared to air next to a busy city street.
  • Cars being pushed by diesel trains during a return trip had air that was generally cleaner than that next to busy city streets.
  • When being pulled, cars in the middle of the trains had levels three times lower than the front-most cars. The average BC and UFP concentrations across all pulled cars was about five times higher than on city streets.

“The health and safety of our customers and staff is our number one priority, which is precisely why we’ve supported the work of Dr. Evans and his research team,” said Greg Percy, Chief Operating Officer for Metrolinx. “We welcome any findings that can help us run a healthier, safer transit service and we’re hopeful this work will result in improvements that will be applied throughout the industry and within other public transit agencies in Canada and abroad.”

Percy said that Metrolinx is taking a number of steps to address the issue, such as installing high-efficiency filters in the ventilation systems of its train cars. The organization is also moving to locomotives with improved emissions standards and to electrified service on key routes, which will eliminate the diesel emissions altogether.

Evans and his team are currently working with Metrolinx and SNC Lavalin to test the new improved filters for the air intake vents. Preliminary results are positive. “Installing the higher grade filters did produce a marked improvement, with an 80 per cent reduction in the levels of black carbon,” said Evans.

“Metrolinx has been very supportive of our research.” said Jeong. “Our collaboration with them is most welcome as it will help translate our research findings into action. Further research is also required to evaluate in-transit exposure for all types of diesel-powered passenger trains.”

In the meantime, there are practical steps that passengers can take. “I would advise pregnant women and passengers with heart or respiratory health problems not to travel in the front car,” said Evans. But he would not necessarily suggest avoiding the train entirely.

“I commute by train on a regular basis myself and have done so for years,” said Evans. “As an air quality researcher, I want to see a reduction in overall emissions, and trains are a more efficient system than people commuting in their cars. I don’t want to discourage people from taking transit, or alarm them unduly, but there is an issue here. It underscores the importance of train electrification, which will address this indoor air issue in addition to helping to combat climate change.”

###


In related top level science news:

  • If you drive a Volkswagen Diesel car you may be exposed to diesel exhaust, though not at the levels indicated by Volkswagen test results.
  • If you have a wood stove in your home, you may be exposed to wood smoke.
  • If you drive a semi-truck, you may be exposed to diesel exhaust.
  • If you live in the city, versus the country, you may be exposed to more particulate based pollution due to greater density of diesel autos, buses, and trucks.
  • If you lived in the 19th century, and rode a train powered by a steam locomotive, you may have been exposed to high levels of smoke with dangerous particulates in it. That’s probably why you are dead now.

Funding is desperately needed to ascertain the answers to the above burning issues.

And finally, the money quote:

“It underscores the importance of train electrification, which will address this indoor air issue in addition to helping to combat climate change.”

Well, maybe, maybe not. In Ontario they might have hydro-power running the trains, but in the USA Northeast, mostly coal power plants. I don’t know of any trains that run on wind and solar, but I’m sure if somebody invents one, it will be initially lauded as a huge success until that first cloudy and windless day on the commute.

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163 thoughts on “Hump Day Hilarity – actual study: ‘diesel trains may expose passengers to diesel exhaust’

  1. For 100K I could work up a study to show what airborne hazards a chicken farmer faces. No they just did it.

      • LOL

        Enviro’s always seem to like 18th and 19th century modes of transportation. But if being behind a diesel locomotive exposes one to diesel fumes, imagine what being on a carriage behind a horse exposed you to.

      • Someone once predicted that by 1910, New York City streets would be buried under nine feet of horse manure. . .

      • Goldrider.
        “Someone once predicted that by 1910, New York City streets would be buried under nine feet of horse manure. . .”

        Thank God for the horseless carriage. At 2500 tons per day the prediction may not have been too far off.

    • People surrounded by a pack of rottweilers are nine times more likely to get bitten by a dog than people standing in a flock of seagulls.

      I’m working on the funding to do the research that proves this, but it might take a while.

      • Where do you intend to get your volunteers?

        I figure that I might be willing to find a pool of volunteers at the March For Science rally, seeing as how I would be willing to extend a small stipend to each brave soul, and seeing as how some of these folks might welcome the additional income, given that they might need to change career paths, in light of future funding limitations in their chosen fields.

        Otherwise, … volunteers for WHAT? I’ll just use computer models.

      • You need to include something about climate change to ensure the funding I would have thought.
        (and was that people surrounded by the band “A flock of seagulls”?

      • You need to include something about climate change to ensure the funding I would have thought.

        Trust me, I have that covered, … in the premise that it is the increasing concentration of CO2 causing global warming, which makes dogs hotter, hence more agitated, hence more likely to bite, whereas sea gulls are flying around in the air, creating a constant cooling effect on themselves, even at higher ambient temperatures, so not subject to the same CO2 stress.

        Also, there is the premise that elevated levels of CO2 impairs the cognitive abilities of humans, making them stupid enough to stand in a pack of CO2-stressed dogs.

        I think this is a slam-dunk grant proposal.

  2. I don’t know about the USA/Canada/Australia, etc, but here in the UK “scientists”/doctors are always coming up with another reason why people die!!!!

    • In Glasgow, the biggest cause of death is NEDS.

      Non-Emissive, Dense, Sh*theads.

      (Not really, I believe it’s still heart attacks from smoking, drinking and too many deep fried Mars Bars as a staple diet).

      Pick the climate change influence out of that lot!

    • Yet in spite of all these hazards, life expectancy continues to increase (or is that an alternative fact. I’m not sure).

    • Especially if involves smoking, drinking, or eating anything that tastes remotely good. Just more o’that Ole-Tyme Religion!

  3. Another” OMG we are all going to die from the dread effects of X” article. Perhaps the sequel will be warning of the dread effects of large amounts of water.

    • Tom,
      As a retired Merchant Seaman and lifelong dinghy sailor and racer, I am very qualified to undertake such a study. Contact me directly for where to send the first tranche of money so that I can start the feasability study.

      • Oooooh, “tranche” sounds sooo much more impressive, sophisticated and cool than “slice” (of the taxpayer money pie).

      • Tranche is actually part of the finance dictionary and is widely used. Yes it is also French for slice. And yes again finance gurus probably went for the exotic to gild the business a bit.

    • Already done. The dreaded effects of dihydrogen monoxide, or hydrogen-hydroxide. Quite effective for identifying the ignorant loons.

    • You must have seen, at some time, the handout warning people of the dangers of the dreaded Dihydrogen Monoxide? If not, please Google it.

  4. Oh! And we’re getting ‘large amounts of water’ from the sky presently, here in northwest OregonUSA. If that rain falls through soot, guess where the soot goes; maybe we could scare people with ‘acid rain’… pity it’s already been overworked…

  5. In Ontario they might have hydro-power running the trains, but…

    Partly true. The massive hydroelectric generators at Niagara Falls are currently running at about half-capacity on purpose, to “encourage” more windmill and solar electricity generation. Nuclear power generation still carries the majority. You can see a near real-time chart of Ontario’s supply at http://ieso.ca/

    • And Niagara is probably the ‘greenest’ source of power in the world. You don’t even need a dam, although they did take up land for a pumped storage system (which is not used at all I believe for the same reasons you state)

    • Our bills in Ontario have more than doubled in less than a decade largely because of the ~7% provided by wind and ~0.7% by solar, and they will continue to grow at silly rates as long as the mentally ILLiberals are in power.

  6. This looks like another opening for Tesla battery sales filling the first two cars behind the locomotive and costing 10x more but with another wad of tax credits to add to the impressive portfolio of other tax credits.

  7. If you eat powdered sugar covered donouts or make the dough, you are exposed to particulate matter! Stay away from the bakery! /sarc

  8. IF any of this “science” was accurate, human beings would have been extinct in less than a generation. Humans cannot have zero tolerance for everything on the planet. It simply does not work.

  9. ” I don’t know of any trains that run on wind and solar, but I’m sure if somebody invents one, it will be initially lauded as a huge success until that first cloudy and windless day on the commute.”

    Or the fact that the train takes 3 hours to reach its cruising speed of 8 miles an hour.

    • Randy, the subways (trains) in NYC are all powered by electricity. This map shows NY state wind farms. When they feed the grid, some of the electricity the trains are using is coming from wind.

      • New York Net Electricity Generation by Source Oct. 2016
        https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=NY#tabs-4
        11:36:23 GMT-0600 (Central Standard Time)
        Source: Energy Information Administration Electric Power Monthly
        Category New York Net Electricity Generation thousand MWh
        Petroleum-Fired 13 0.13%
        Natural Gas-Fired 3898 37.63%
        Coal-Fired 82 0.79%
        Nuclear 3828 36.96%
        Hydroelectric 2008 19.39%
        Nonhydroelectric Renewables 529 5.11%
        Total 10358 100.00%

      • Randy says: ” I don’t know of any trains that run on wind and solar.” I would like to thank you for showing us that over 5% of the power for trains comes from wind and solar.
        .
        .
        Also Randy says: ” but I’m sure if somebody invents one.” Don’t worry, they’ve already been invented, but you would know that if you rode on the NYC(among others) subway.

      • Keep in mind Population Density.
        Manhattan Island, if powered totally by Solar Panels, would require an area the size of “Kings” and the “Bronx” to be totally covered by solar panels just to power the residences. Then you would need to include “Queens” to power the Financial district and businesses. If you were to switch to Wind instead of Solar, you would require almost 1/2 of Long Island (Kings, Queens, Nassau counties and the Bronx) would have to be stripped of houses and replaced with wind turbines

      • DD: But it costs twice as much to build, and to maintain, an offshore wind farm as a land-based one. And it’s expensive to connect one to the grid, as Germany is discovering.

      • A 5 percent contribution is not the same as “powered by.” Shut off wind and solar, and you won’t impact the NYC subway system in the least. Shut off the other power sources and let’s see how it works on just wind and solar.

        Nobody ever said 0 percent of solar and wind went to electricity for trains.

      • David,
        Precisely the point I was making,
        Due to population density in Manhattan, even Offshore Wind requires 4 to 8 times the area being powered by wind to be covered by turbines to achieve the power requirements. Manhattan Island covers only 22 sq miles but the Offshore Wind project would cover 256 sq miles and probably supply enough power to provide for just Manhattan when the wind blows which is an area greater than 10 times Manhattan.

        Thinking inside or outside the box, to Power Manhattan Island with wind power requires an area of 10 times the island’s size.

      • If you are going to ague in absurdum you might as well acknowledge that all energy is generated by the stars in the universe. Hence everything is run off solar power.

      • Bryan A, get a map and see what is 100 miles south east of Manhattan Island. No houses to strip there if you want to build wind turbines.
        .
        Roger Knights, correct, and the winds offshore are stronger and steadier than onshore ones, so your capacity factor is much higher for a given amount of capital investment.
        .
        Michael Jankowski, the point is Randy asked for one to be “invented”, but they already exist. Where do you draw the line, you will not accept 5% as “powered by” ……will you accept 20% or maybe 37%????

      • You still have to Transmit it that 100 + miles before it reaches it’s working destination and you still need almost 250+ sq mi of wind farm area to supply a city of 22 sq mi.
        At that scale you would need almost 50,000 sq mi of Turbine farms to power the 17m+ residents of the greater Los Angeles Basin. That is roughly 4 times the area of Hawaii

      • Got a better idea. TELECOMMUTE!! Work from home in your bunny slippers pushing pixels instead of taking the car, train, or bus to that big-box building that needs heat, cooling, and lights. Eliminate ALL that energy use, all that wasted time, and even the need for outside child-care! Wow, I should join a think-tank, huh?

    • Dude!?

      Were you trying to post the pic of the yellow semi tractor, or the pics of exhaust pipes? @¿@

      • schitzree, / sarc:

        ‘little children exposed’

        to exhaust pipes blasting min.6 meters above ground level.

        my fault /

  10. I have been on the first car in an Amtrak diesel train and smelled the fumes. I didn’t need BC or UFP detectors to tell me that.

    And BTW, most of the coal plants in the NE are shut down, most of the power comes from NG, hydro and nuclear.

    • My first thought as well. Why do you need a study? A simple complaint that passengers can smell diesel fumes would have been faster. Then again perhaps then they would need to do a study to discover that particulates are correlated to fumes in diesel exhaust.

      Strange days indeed!

  11. Most trains have a diesel generator that is converted by an SCR to DC to run GE 752 traction motors.
    This is very efficient, uses minimum fuel. This is also done on dredges,paddle wheel boats, tug boats and ferry’s. Silly is what silly does, when you are trying to ruin economies for a single order of leadership. When you create scare tactics to destroy a country, I believe treason is true.

  12. One of the many problems of appeasing scare mongers is that they always round on you. That was the central lesson of Aubrey McClendon’s use of the Serria Club to attack the oil industry.

    This paper would of course qualify as part of the 97 percent consensus.

  13. Green and white “go Train” engine number 604 pulling the Great Global Warming Gravy Train down lakeshore Toronto and stopping at the “U. of T.” snout-troughing department.

    WTF !

  14. They could, of course, run an exhaust under the train to the rear and expel the gases out the back of the train. Or is that too simple a solution that won’t generate sufficient scientific funds?

    • Actually, a train length articulated (to go around curves) exhaust pipe would be pretty expensive. It would have to be installed as sections under each car, and join together without leaks as the train is connected together.

      Cheaper and easier to just put better filters on the exhaust. Makes good environmental news copy too. Effectively free advertising.

      • Cheapest and easiest would be to put locomotives at both ends (just one more car length total) and turn the vehicle into a pusher run electronically from the front LOCO.
        The front Locomotive Engineer runs the pusher motor in the rear locomotive from the front Locomotive then walks to the back of the train for the return trip.

    • Johann, if you’re trying to post pictures (or even just links to picture) you’re doing it poorly.

      Try right clicking on the picture and hit ‘view image’. That should give you the actual address that you can copy and post. It should end in .jpg, .gif, .Png, or another image extention, and if it does then posting that address will let WordPress show the actual image.

    • Re:100% wind powered trains
      If I am not mistaken, dutch trains still draw power from the grid. That grid is a mix of energy sources (ie Diesel,coal, NG, bio, RE etc). I believe that NS purchased a certificate from Eneco for the approx annual consumption. fwiw- only 75-80% of the dutch rail system is electrified. Diesel used for the non-core routes.

    • They look like electric trains to me. My guess is that they are powered by electricity. Unless the wind is blowing them along the tracks they are not wind powered.
      Lest anyone wishes to take the argument further see my previous comment regarding arguing to absurdum.

      • To clarify, when I said grid it was short for electrical grid. The 100% wind power article implies that wind power is the sole source of energy for all the trains. The wind company supplies the electrical grid but sells certificates to those who want to say they are green. In reality the trains (that are electrified) draw power from the electrical grid. As to how much of that power actually comes from wind can vary greatly.

      • Aarne, I do not disagree. My comments are aimed at those who practice poor energy accounting, such as the authors in the cited article.

    • This is the same argument that Al Bore uses when he says his many mansions and gross travel are ‘green’ – he pays (maybe) for indulgences.

      http://euanmearns.com/do-the-netherlands-trains-really-run-on-100-wind-power/

      South Australian politicians would also have us believe that 40% of our power comes from renewables but this is an accounting argument only. Another blackout yesterday in our 3rd world state when the wind generators stopped generating.

  15. Did the researchers control for outside truck and bus traffic? It is a major highway and rail commute corridor. Plus manufacturing/steel/largest airport hub, St Lawrence Seaway.. . Not the best engineering investigation. When your day job is looking for evil soot, CO2 and particulates you tend to subjectively squint. Maybe when you open the train doors in Hamilton down wind from the steel works, passing ships, and auto traffic you may take on pollution that you then sit in sampling for an hour!

  16. My dad spent over 40 years working for the railway, the last 20 years or so in Union Station in a small bubble office above the tracks surrounded by the GO trains in the picture. He worked 12 hour shifts – 4 days on 4 off all those years. Whatever you could get exposed to, it never affected him.

  17. ” In Ontario they might have hydro-power running the trains”

    You can find out where we get our power from here:

    http://reports.ieso.ca/public/GenOutputCapability/PUB_GenOutputCapability_20170207_v25.xml

    At 1PM yesterday:

    NUCLEAR Total Capability 35.0%
    NUCLEAR Total Output 54.2%

    GAS Total Capability 25.1%
    GAS Total Output 4.9%

    HYDRO Total Capability 25.8%
    HYDRO Total Output 28.0%

    WIND Total Available Capacity 12.3%
    WIND Total Output 11.8%

    SOLAR Total Available Capacity 0.5%
    SOLAR Total Output 0.1%

    BIOFUEL Total Capability 1.3%
    BIOFUEL Total Output 1.0%

    So, yeah, nice that we have some nukes (don’t tell Greenpeace!!!) or hydro dams (don’t tell them that this creates methane – which they don’t even know is multiple-times worse than CO2…)

    • Now that’s funny. They gave electric car buyers every incentive they could think of. No taxes, no tolls, free charging, can use the bus lanes, and more. And of course tens of thousands jumped on it.

      So many, that it’s no longer sustainable. The government can’t pay for roadwork if no one is paying taxes. The bus lanes are clogged with so many cars they no longer provide an advantage. All their incentives turned into a predictable disaster, and now they want to get rid of them.

      And how do you think the people who bought all those electric cars are going to react when all the reasons they bought them for disappear, probably only a year or two after they got them? And who would buy one now, with either no incentives or incentives that you now know could disappear as soon as they become inconvenient.

      • Something similar happens here in Ontario: they want us to cut back on power use, so they jack up the prices.

        Then people, obviously, cut back.

        Then, they don’t bring in enough money…so they offer rebates…to encourage people to use more power.

        Its like they never heard of the Laffer Curve…or passed fifth grade math.

    • The Law of Unintended Consequences is one that politicians and greenies fail to consider

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-22/rooftop-solar-sa-risk-to-energy-system-security-aec/8044642

      “It could be as early as 2023 when the energy coming from rooftop systems in South Australia is all the electricity that state needs to run the grid,” Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said.

      “While that’s interesting, that poses technical challenges in how we keep the grid stable.”

      • Because everyone will have either left the state or moved to household generators? I guess that might take power demand down to the point that solar could produce enough energy.

        On occasion. In theory.

  18. An utterly fact free press release.
    They claim 9 times higher in the first car.

    But no actual numbers of the concentration of particles for any scenario, the middle car, or street corners.

    No data, no way to evaluate any actual risk..

      • But they claim 9X higher in the front car. But what if the other cars have 1 0.1micrometer particle per cubic meter. So 9X is 9 particle per meter. There is no perspective if this is any sort of hazard or above any sort of recognized industrial health and safety guidelines.

        No quantitative data. No way to access the risk or significance. When I ride the train I see no smoke in the cars, and don’t smell exhaust, so in the trains I ride, levels must be pretty low.

  19. Universities represent one of the places where the 80-20 Rule does not hold. One must revert to the 90-10 Rule to make sense of them.

  20. Now, not that I condone the habit (which I have subsequently quit), but I actually had a woman come up to me on the train platform and complain about my smoking. I couldn’t hear her very well as we were standing right next to a running turbo charged 16 cylinder, 50 liter displacement, diesel engine in a confined space. At about 3k rpm, that’s good for what – 1.5-2.5 m3/s of particulate laden diesel exhaust? But it’s my cigarette that’s gonna trigger your panic attack.

  21. So what have these characters found, an actual hazard or not?
    How fantastic that they have a new toy (is that what this is about – willy enhancement?) that can see these UFPs yet even they sat there is no positively identified problem even with things (PM2.5s) that are 25 times bigger.
    So, there is a hazard from cancerous chemicals in diesel smoke? What about the primary metabolite of alcohol consumption – acetaldehyde. There’s one desperately unpleasant chemical yet doctors the world over say up to 20ml of alcohol per day may even be good for you.

    Please lads, without any actual anything in your research, this is just noise.
    As if Climate Scientists didn’t make enough of that already and is, arguably a bigger hazard than what you think you’ve found.
    It distracts from Real Problems. If you’ve not found or identified a *real* danger, keep it under your hat. OK?
    Otherwise its verging on terrorism.

  22. Smoke? That’s not smoke. This is smoke:

    Here is one, emitting combined carbon and condensed true greenhouse gas water vapor.:

  23. This article did not mention CO2 or AGW or CC. It was just about “conventional” pollution. Whether you agree with them or take the view that anything coming from any kind of environmentalist must be fabricated nonsense, it is really silly to go on about this post as alarmist or warmist. The point they make about using electric trains is not only valid as a way of reducing point-of-use pollution, but electric trains in my experience seem to have way better acceleration, which is a huge asset for a commuter railway. They can also do regenerative braking which puts power back in the grid and reduces the amount of particulate crud from brake pads getting into in the air (the trains in question have disk brakes).

    • Smart Rock,
      You seem to have overlooked the fact that diesel powered trains are electric. They simply carry the electricity generator along with them. The “locomotive engine” is merely a large diesel/electric generator that supplies power to the electric motors that drive the wheels. This does require that the locomotive also generate enough power to move the generator and all its fuel along the tracks as well as the remainder of the train and its payload. But, it does not require overhead (or 3rd rail) infrastructure to conduct the electricity to the wheel motors. Anyone who ignores the attendant costs (both monetary and energy-wise) of installing and maintaining this additional infrastructure is ignorant or dishonest, and only contributes to the confusion by using poor accounting.

  24. Short explanation:

    A tractor, the trailer is a cooler loaded with butter.

    The hot exhaust pipe passes the defective cooler and the entire load, pure fat, gets on fire.

    That’s why since 1999 ALL truck exhaust pipes are under strict controll.

    • Stephen Richards on February 8, 2017 at 12:27 pm
      30000 passengers have died from the fumes this year alone, we estimate UN and NYT /SARC

      And they never set it in relation to all about death rate!

  25. In minus 40-degree weather in Val-d’Or, Quebec several years ago, an associate from Australia wondered how may feet fresh urine would have to travel off a high cliff before it froze. I see a grant coming.

  26. In Ontario they might have hydro-power running the trains, but in the USA Northeast, mostly coal power plants.

    Oh dont be quite so disingenuous. Its a darn sight easier to get better fuel efficiency and way less particulate sulphur and NOx emissions in a fossil power station than in a fossil diesel engine, and you can put the power station where the people aren’t.

    Trains ain’t goin’ nowhere ‘cept along them tracks, and they are ultimately best ‘lectrified and there is no way round that.

    Anyway., then you can have nookooleer trains, innit?

    • Those trains go right past the Pickering nuclear power station. I imagine that would be the predominant power source. Niagara Falls is near 100 miles away.

  27. “cars in the middle of the trains had levels three times lower than the front-most cars”

    “three times lower”………. is this acceptable scientific language these days? Or can I continue to assume such things are only written by idiots?

    • Written by idiots.

      The correct method of analyzing pollution is to measure it and compare it to the regulatory limits. Workers who spend 8 hours a day are usually the limiting exposure.

      There is no smoking gun. There is no problem.

  28. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    Considering that millions of commuters have been riding those trains for decades around the world and that the health risks, if any get lost in the noise, I’m not sure what the issue is. The fact is that the modern well maintained diesel locomotive is about as efficient as any electric when it comes to pollution aspects. When you have a heavy traffic situation like the NY region, parts of Europe and Japan, electrics pay off in faster acceleration and top speeds depending on the requirements and lose because of the higher up front costs for infrastructure. Wind and solar would just add intermittency to an already bumpy load curve. The load curve issue has been around as long as electric railroads. That and the transmission losses over long distances are why electric railroads have never predominated after dieselization.

  29. An analogy: “Most fruits emit a gas ethylene, and it’s made right in the fruit! Not that I want to alarm anyone, but pregnant women or asthma patient should probably not walk the produce aisle. Not to overly alarm any but there is an issue here.”

    Well, yeah, a near idiotic desire to find trouble everywhere you look as to generate funding.

  30. Solution seems simple to me:

    If you are afraid of sharks, don’t swim in the ocean.

    If you are afraid of horses, don’t ride one.

    If you don’t like the train, don’t ride it.

  31. “When being pulled, cars in the middle of the trains had levels three times lower than the front-most cars..”
    I’ll have a yarn with my bank about making things smaller by multiplication…too easy!

  32. “Diesel trains may expose passengers to exhaust” – translation Give Me A Grant To Research The Bleedin’ Obvious

    • Admad on February 9, 2017 at 2:35 am
      “Diesel trains may expose passengers to exhaust”

      As in the Dieselloks – it all depends on the air conditioning!

  33. OMG, the old steam engines must have taken us all to the brink of extinction! How did anyone survive?

  34. Ah, particulate pollution… This is why locomotives used to have tall chimneys in the good olden days.

    • SocietalNorm on February 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm
      I was quite surprised that the paper included this:
      ““We were quite surprised”

      Yep, astounding!

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