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Smoldering railroad tie stops trains

Original post made on Jun 20, 2014

A railroad tie on the Caltrain tracks in Palo Alto shut down train service on Friday afternoon, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 20, 2014, 4:19 PM

Comments (3)

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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?


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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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