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Derailed train spills carloads of coal

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 11:00 pm | Updated: 10:46 am, Fri Jul 19, 2013.

A coal train bound for Newport News derailed Thursday afternoon in southern Albemarle, spilling more than a thousand tons of coal along the roadside.

The 150-car train was crossing Warren Ferry Road between Howardsville and Scottsville around 5:30 p.m. Thursday when 24 loaded cars derailed, CSX Transportation spokesman Gary Sease said Thursday from the railroad company’s headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla.

Two people were on board Thursday, Sease said, a locomotive engineer and a conductor. No one was injured.

Sease said the train, which began its route in Peach Creek, W. Va., was headed for an export facility in eastern Virginia, but would not disclose the name of the client that had hired the transportation company.

According to Sease, 12 cars, carrying approximately 1,320 tons of coal between them, were completely overturned at the time of derailment. A dozen others were derailed, but left standing. The cause of the derailment was still unknown Thursday evening.

CSX crews were en route and officials said they would work nonstop to clear the crossing, but officials at the scene Thursday said it could be well into the weekend before the road is clear.

“We simply don’t know, yet,” Sease said Thursday evening.

Police said the crossing at Warren Ferry Road would be closed until Saturday morning, at the earliest.

“It’ll be days,” Lt. Greg Jenkins with the Albemarle County Police Department said at the scene. “They’ve got to get their own machinery down here to open the road.”

Scottsville Fire Department, county police, the Albemarle County Fire Marshall’s Office and CSX responded to the accident.

Sease said CSX, which operates the railroad, would be investigating the incident as soon as possible.

“We’ll be sifting through everything as we do the clean-up and talking to the operators of the train,” Sease said. “But it can take some time.”

Train cars that are still mobile will be re-railed and continue down the tracks to Newport News, Sease said.

“If they’re too badly damaged they’ll be taken off at the site and to the nearest shop,” he added.

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