Norfolk Southern train derailment included 36 cars in Great Dismal Swamp

Local News

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Amtrak service in and out of Norfolk will resume on Thursday after being disrupted by a 36-car Norfolk Southern train derailment in Suffolk.

Norfolk Southern officials say 36 cars carrying coal derailed in the middle of the swamp Tuesday morning at 4:20 a.m. The railroad company first told 10 On Your Side the derailment happened in the Portlock area of Chesapeake.

Norfolk Southern says it’s cleaning up the mess and working to clear the tracks, but it’s unclear what kind of environmental damage the accident may have caused. No injuries were reported.

Norfolk Southern released this statement on Wednesday:

Initial reports indicated that Norfolk Southern experienced a derailment of a coal train yesterday, west of Portlock near the Suffolk/Chesapeake border. Norfolk Southern has since confirmed that 36 loaded cars of coal derailed within the boundaries of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge at 4:20 a.m.
There were no reported injuries. The coal spill is confined to a relatively small area adjacent to NS’ tracks and there is no impact to any major waterway.  
Norfolk Southern operations and environmental personnel are on-site working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to coordinate cleanup efforts and develop an environmental restoration plan.

Stacey Hugo Mansfield, Director of Corporate Communications for Norfolk Southern Corporation

A spokesperson with the swamp told us he isn’t sure how much coal was dumped and how long the cleanup will take.

Amtrak officials said the derailment caused the cancellation of routes for Northeast Regional trains 84, 95, and 129. Service in Norfolk was suspended Tuesday and Wednesday.

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

Customers can call Amtrak at 1-800-872-7245 for assistance modifying reservations.

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