Model Railroader Magazine Hazmat Article

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In the May 2010 issue of Model Railroader Magazine there is an article titled - "A modeler's guide to hazardous material markings". While it is an excellent guide for modelers, one thing I noticed reading through it was from my having had hazmat classes in the Army. In the article, Matt Snell describes the proper placement of the hazmat placards. On page 44, the top left photo shows a tank car displaying the "UN Number 2186" and to the immediate right a photo of a tank car labeled 'Asphalt' and the UN Number stenceled on the car in an orange panel - UN Number 3257.

It might be of interest as to what these numbers mean, where you can find out what they mean and what their purpose is - from the point of a 'First Responder'.

The Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) was - "... developed jointly by the US Department of Transportation, Transport Canada, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico (SCT) for use by firefighters, police, and other emergency services personnel who may be the first to arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving a hazardous material. It is primarily a guide to aid first responders in (1) quickly identifying the specific or generic classification of the material(s) involved in the incident, and (2) protecting themselves and the general public during this initial response phase of the incident."

That is from the PHMSA website

Here you have an online version of the book which is normally carried by the First Responders so they have immediate access.

That page links to the 2008 ERG (Emergency Response Guide)

Clicking on the menu item on the left side of the page where it says - "ID Number" brings you to this page

So how do the Emergency Responders make use of the ID Number? They get a call that a train has de-railed. They take off and make their way to the vicinity of the wreck .. and stop. They stop so they can take a pair of binoculars and determine what was in the de-railed railcars by .. what? .. reading the ID Number.

Let's look up the first photo from the Model Railroader article, the one with the UN Number 2186 ... click the Index where it says 2000
That gets you to page 20 but the numbers only goto 2050. Click the ... at the bottom of the page.

There it is - 2186 125 Hydrogen chloride, refrigerated liquid .. with a picture of a skull and crossbones ..
Just to the right of the 2186 .. is a hyper-linked number .. in this case 125 .. click that

This is what we are looking for .. the Guide for the Emergency Responders. It tells us Potential Hazards, Public Safety resposes - distance to isolate, what protective clothing is required, evacuation for spill and fire, Emergency Response - Fire, what to use, how to use, what to do in case of spill or leak and First Aid.

This is some NASTY STUFF by the way ..

The other photo labeled Asphalt with ID Number 3257. Here is the Guide for that
I've read some railroad manuals on how to handle HAZMAT loads. It can add some fun to modeling and operations when you start to consider you may need to include spacer cars in your trains and couple them making sure X car is so many cars separated from Y car and not right behind the engine, don't couple cars loaded with A and B material next to each other, etc etc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.