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One train route reopens after nine cars derailed in downtown Roanoke

All nine cars were cleared from the tracks as of 10:00 a.m. Thursday

Clean up continues after a train derailment in Roanoke Wednesday morning.
Clean up continues after a train derailment in Roanoke Wednesday morning.

ROANOKE, Va.UPDATE - Dec. 17 at 10:00 a.m.

All nine of the derailed train cars have been cleared from the tracks as of Thursday morning, according to a Norfolk Southern spokesperson.

Officials said one route through the railyard has been reopened while other remaining tracks and routes are closed as crews continue to repair the affected tracks and switches.

The spokesperson said the company is hopeful for a full reopening later in the day on Thursday.


UPDATE - Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Norfolk Southern Spokesperson Jeff DeGraff tells 10 News the 145 car-long train was heading east when nine cars derailed and some of the cars were carrying automobiles.

While the cause for the derailment is still being determined, DeGraff said they are ready to make any changes if needed to avoid another incident.

Wednesday’s derailment is the third incident in the area since June.

On June 7, a train derailment was caused by human error in handling cars. DeGraff said human errors are resolved by stepping up their training.

However, the cause for another train derailment on Oct. 31 has yet to be determined as the investigation continues.

DeGraff said if any derailment is a mechanical error they will inspect if it’s ongoing problem.

“In which case we can step up our maintenance and replacement schedule if necessary,” he said. “If not we will continue to make sure the areas continue to get inspected to try to prevent this from happening.”

As of 6:25 p.m., crews are working to remove the ninth train from the scene.


UPDATE - Dec. 16 at 12:53 p.m.

Crews are still working to clean up after nine cars were derailed while a train was trying to leave the Roanoke rail yard.

As of 12:30 p.m., six cars have been cleared and crews are continuing to work on clearing the other three.

The HazMat response team with Norfolk Southern confirmed no concerns regarding the incident and will remain on-site monitoring the work.

Officials are investigating the cause of the derailment and currently have no indications.

According to Norfolk Southern, track repair and inspection will begin after crews remove the remaining three cars.

At this time, there is no estimated time to reopen the track.


ORIGINAL STORY

Crews are currently working to clean up after a train leaving the Roanoke rail yard derailed nine cars, according to Norfolk Southern.

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Train leaving Roanoke's Norfolk Southern rail yard derails nine cars (credit: John James)

Officials said the incident happened around 2:15 a.m. and crews say they are working to determine the cause of the derailment.

No injuries have been reported, according to Norfolk Southern.

Officials said they do not have an estimate on how long clean up will take. This incident is impacting train traffic in and out of the yard.


About the Authors:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a digital content producer in July 2018.

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.