While on the top deck of a passenger train recently, I saw a passing freight train which puzzled me. The first few cars were open wagons, full (to the top of the wagon) with something that looked very much like steel wool - fuzzy curled texture, dark grey in colour. It looked like it was loose in the car, heaped up in ‘cloudy’ formations much like unspun shhep’s wool. I couldn’t identify it on sight, and I have no idea what it might be.
The next several cars were open wagons half full with cubes of crushed aluminum or steel, presumably headed somewhere to be recycled, so I’m guessing the ‘steel wool’ was also headed for recycling. But what would need to be transported in fine shreds? Was this actual steel that for some reason was in puffs instead of crushed cubes, and if so, why? Any ideas?