DUBLIN (WSLS 10) - Crews had a large mess to clean up Wednesday after a Norfolk Southern train slammed into the back of another - causing the front train's rear cars to derail off the tracks Tuesday in Pulaski County. Norfolk Southern says they continue to work to restore operations in Dublin following the crash.
A westbound Norfolk Southern train was struck from behind by a second westbound NS train at about 4 p.m. Tuesday. A hazmat team responded to assess the damage, according to a Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) spokesperson.
Norfolk Southern said crews moved the derailed locomotive and rail cars off the railroad tracks and were making track repairs Wednesday afternoon. It anticipates reopening the line to rail traffic by 8 p.m.
More equipment derailed than originally reported. Original reports indicated diesel fuel spilled from one of the locomotives, but investigation has shown there was no diesel fuel spill.
Eight rear cars on the westbound train that were struck by the second train - derailed. One car, containing lube oil, commonly used in machinery, emptied its contents, estimated to be more than 20,000 gallons. Officials said all of the oil is contained to the site and has not impacted any waterways containing moving water.
The crash has neighbors and residents nervous for their family and friends near the track.
"All of a sudden we heard booms," said Kellie Hoke, who lives near the scene of the derailment. "Sounded like a rocket going off. It almost shook the house."
"We have a lot of car wrecks but never something like this. It's shocking," said Lisa Lytton, a woman who lives nearby.
Norfolk Southern says they're working with environmental contractors Wednesday to remediate the site. Another car, filled with scrap metal, was turned on its side, spilling some of its contents. The other rail cars were empty.
In the second train, the locomotive derailed on its side, and in addition, the first 10 auto rack cars, used for carrying vehicles, derailed. NS is currently re-railing these cars.
Two crew members were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. They have since been released.
Norfolk Southern says they're working to re-rail or remove the remaining equipment and will continue remediation efforts throughout the day.
Old Route 11 remains closed to through traffic Wednesday evening.
Norfolk Southern expects to reopen the track to train traffic late Wednesday afternoon.
The cause of the derailment is under investigation.