Train derails in Roanoke County after bridge collapsed releasing 2000 tons of coal in river

Officials are ensuring if there are any impacts to water quality

Norfolk Southern train derailment in Roanoke County.
Norfolk Southern train derailment in Roanoke County. (Pamela Davis)


Roanoke County officials responded to the train derailment incident in a press release Saturday night.

Officials said that a Norfolk Southern Corp. bridge collapsed in Roanoke County near Barley Drive Friday night around 11:15 p.m. The bridge collapsed while a train carrying coal was crossing the Roanoke River, and a dozen of 22 rail cars that derailed fell into the river, causing about 2000 tons of coal to fall out.

The Virginia Department of Emergency and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality responded to the incident and have been coordinating on removing the rail cars and coal from the river, according to the press release.

Officials said that DEQ is working with local, state and federal agencies as well as Norfolk Southern to collect samples to determine if there have been any impacts to water quality.

Out of an abundance of caution, Salem is currently withdrawing water from groundwater wells and not the Roanoke River until water samples of the river can be analyzed, according to officials.


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