Cover the coal cars
With all of the concern over the coal trains, I have one idea that would cut down on the coal dust from the cars. I think a hard plastic, lightweight, reusable cover could be designed to fit right over the top of each coal car. It would need to be removed and replaced only when filling the car from the top. When they unload the car, I believe, it is from the bottom.
Sure, there would be a one-time cost to design, make and install the lids. However, in the long run, it would keep every town the train passes through — including, of course, Vancouver — from getting as dirty.
One big savings for the railroad, might be the decrease, or elimination, of expensive lawsuits from people who may get cancer or other major illnesses from the coal dust. A very small savings could be in fuel costs, because the covers may cut down on wind resistance.
Of course, this would take care of only one of the problems with the coal trains. However, it would be a much cleaner option than what is being done now.