Unlike many of the people who are opining on the effect of coal trains passing through Bellingham, I have actual experience of living near coal transit on a massive scale.
I grew up in a little Illinois town 12 miles east of St. Louis, Mo. Coal transited from our mine's tipple to the St. Louis coal yards via city streets in Collinsville, Il.
The coal was moved by large semi-trailer dump rigs. The traffic on our city streets was heavy. We saw some coal on the streets that spilled from the trucks, but the next time the street sweeper drove by it was gone. Black Lung is a disease that is caused by working in an underground mine without a respirator, the danger to people in the open is nonexistent.
I do suspect that some residents of Eldridge Avenue and Edgemore mansions might feel put out by the sound of railroad noise, but those tracks have been there for a long time. I think that if the whistles wake them, just thinking about all the poor folks who now have a job might help them go back to sleep.