Durango & Silverton Converting To Wood Pellets?

coloradorailroads Oct 7, 2006

  1. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

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    Study Suggests Ways To Reduce Train Smoke; Ash Pile, Combustion Are Possible Solutions
    DURANGO, CO -- A direction has been identified to reduce smoke from the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge trains. Now, a "road map" must be designed.
    The navigating tool, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Smoke Mitigation Feasibility Report, was presented Thursday evening at the Colorado Air Quality Commission Meeting held at Fort Lewis College.
    The report was presented by Wasatch Railroad Contractors, which conducted a detailed study of the smoke-emission problem from Aug27 to Sep02.
    "We sought out to address the problem, not the symptom," said Wasatch CEO John Rimmasch. The final report submitted to the Air Quality Commission and the Smoke Mitigation Task Force recommended improvements in the ash pile and the combustion system as the best course to reduce emissions.
    As of yet it's too early to quantify things such as costs, percentage of emission improvements, and timelines.
    However, if the Smoke Mitigation Task Force uses Wasatch's recommendations, the town of Durango, particularly the south side residents who have complained for years, will see and smell improvements in the next year and half to three and half years, Rimmasch said.
    Julie Levy, with Region 9 Economic Development District, estimated that it will cost about $3 million total for all six D&SNG trains to achieve an overall 20 percent improvement from the railroad's emissions since the addition of smoke scrubbers.
    The addition of smoke scrubbers in recent years has led to a 50 percent improvement in emissions from historical rates.
    "I don't see how we can fail," said D&SNG Senior Vice President Jeff Jackson. "We ask for support and patience, and we will get this done as soon as possible."
    The task force now will scrutinize the report to figure out what recommendations are worth pursuing and then begin to investigate funding options.
    Air Quality Commissioner Jim Evans said, "I was impressed with the sincerity of the task force and the train to solve this problem. They are on the right track."
    Bob Brady, chairman of the Air Quality Commission, was impressed with the study and authorized the task force and Wasatch to continue the process.
    "If they start to stall out, the commission will jump in," he said.
    The task force is comprised of Region 9 Economic Development District, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, residents of Durango South side, and representatives from La Plata County and the city of Durango. "The task force is absolutely committed to find a solution in the near future to reduce smoke," Levy said. "Our ultimate goal is by next summer during the train season people will see a reduction." - Mary Jane Carroll, The Durango Herald
     

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