A train has derailed in downtown Roanoke under 5th Street bridge.
According to Roanoke City dispatchers, a call was made to Roanoke City Police about the derailment at 4:39 a.m. Norfolk Southern is on the scene.
VIDEO: A train has derailed in downtown Roanoke. This is video taken by 10 News crews on scene. Follow the latest breaking details here --> https://www.wsls.com/news/local/2020/06/07/breaking-train-derailed-in-downtown-roanoke-under-5th-street-bridge/Posted by WSLS 10 / WSLS.com on Sunday, 7 June 2020
Jeff DeGraff, a spokesperson with Norfolk Southern, said the derailment happened at approximately 3:30 Sunday morning. “While moving sets of cars in and out of our rail yard, 18 rail cars derailed near the 5th Street bridge. There were no reports of injuries or releases from the cars. Seven cars derailed upright, while the other 11 were stacked up,” DeGraff said.
Crews are on scene to begin the assessment and recovery. Norfolk Southern is able to continue train traffic through the area on a parallel 2nd main track.
A city engineer was called in to inspect the 5th Street bridge. The bridge is closed to traffic while an assessment is being made. According to a tweet from the Roanoke City Police Department, the bridge will be closed for the “foreseeable future.”
TRAFFIC ALERT: 5th Street Bridge between Shenandoah Ave and Salem Ave SW is closed due to an issue on @nscorp tracks. Please avoid travel in the area for the foreseeable future. #roanoketraffic #roanoketrafficalert— Roanoke Police (@rpdsafercity) June 7, 2020
While the 5th Street Bridge was closed to cars, dozens of onlookers such as James Glaser walked onto the bridge to get a better look at the accident site.
“it’s something for my kids to see. They’ve never seen anything like this," Glaser said. “I didn’t expect it to be this bad. I thought it was just going to be a small collision. The cars are gouged and bent.”
Bill Daniel also walked on the bridge to watch the derailment’s aftermath. He said he’s grateful the accident was not as dangerous as it could have been.
“Imagine what it would have been like 50 years ago, when this railroad was really booming here, to have a derailment like this,” Daniel said. “I’ve seen film and TV of bad wrecks, but this is the first time I’ve been this close to one.”