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Smoldering railroad tie stops trains

A smoking railroad tie on the Caltrain tracks in Palo Alto shut down train service on Friday afternoon. It was the second incident this week, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by hoax?
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2014 at 4:40 pm

What really happened? Was this a hoax? An optical illusion? Dirty train windshield?


Like this comment
Posted by Lance P.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2014 at 9:09 pm

As a retired railroad track supervisor I can assure you that this is a common occurrence. I saw smoldering ties at least 3-4 times per summer during my time on the railroad. Wood ties are treated with creosote which is petroleum based. When the ties get old and dried out a cigarette butt or a spark can ignite them. They usually don't burn but will smolder for hours and sometimes days. A single burned tie is not a hazard and having a fire department called to investigate is overhyping the situation. Stopping trains is beyond that. What did I tell my track inspectors when they came upon a smoldering tie? Time to take a leak!


Like this comment
Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Lance, that was beautiful.


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