Having lived next to the present-day BNSF for 56 years, uphill from the Bellingham waterfront, here are a few comments:
The usual coal train has four 4,000 horsepower locomotives, two pulling and two pushing, totalling 16,000 horsepower or more. Each loaded car weighs about 120 tons. Each train may have 100 cars or more.
If nine trains are added to the three loaded coal trains going through town at present that means 12 going north and 12 south daily, an average of 1 per hour, day and night. And some days already more than three go through. Other freight and passenger trains add to this frequency.
Going uphill, coal train pullers and pushers each create very loud engine noises sounding like trains about a mile apart. Vibration and ground shaking has never been as great as now. What is the effect of this tonnage on bluff and ground slippage? Some is already evident. Residents along Chuckanut, city waterfront and north bay bluffs can't really cheer for long, loud coal trains.
Horns at street crossings: two longs, a short, and a long. Coal trains, other freight and passenger trains will total 30-40 trains per day, and provide 120-160 separate honks at each crossing daily.
Waterfront access, development, necessary passing tracks, and future high-speed passenger trains are also critical issues. And very serious effects of coal dust poisoning and increased diesel exhaust underlie it all.