As part of our White Paper The Ashland Third Main-Line: Unsafe, Destructive, Costly we are compiling a list of the toxic and flammable chemicals that travel through our town by rail by tank car. The cars have a red placard on them (see picture) with two numbers. I would be grateful if people could jot down the numbers on the placards that they see and send them to me.

Below is an example that I saw a few minutes ago.


The number ‘1987’ means (industrial) ethanol. The number ‘3’ means that the material is flammable.

Ethanol has a flash point of 16.6 °C (61.9 °F) which means that it will ignite if exposed to an ignition source (such as a car engine) at ambient temperatures. Evidently it is not possible to extinguish an ethanol fire with either water or normal foam (

Once more, please jot down the numbers that you see and send them to me.


One thought on “Chemicals

  1. I have looked at some of the cars on just three trains. Here are what we have so far.

    1791 – Hypochlorite Solution (possibly containing chlorine)
    1805 – Phosphoric acid
    1824 – Sodium hydroxide solution
    1830 – Sulfuric acid
    1987 – Alcohol, probably Ethanol
    2312 – Phenol, molten
    3082 – Environmentally hazardous substances, liquid, n.o.s
    3257 – Elevated temperature liquid, n.o.s., at or above 100°C (212°F), and below its flash point

    The letters ‘n.o.s.’ stand for “not otherwise specified”.


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