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Train derails overnight in Roanoke Co.

Courtesy WDBJ7
Courtesy WDBJ7(WDBJ7)
Published: Oct. 31, 2020 at 3:31 PM EDT
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ROANOKE Co., Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: The Norfolk Southern bridge collapsed, causing the train carrying coal to derail, according to Roanoke County PIO Amy Whittaker. Norfolk Southern has updated their official count to 22 car that were involved.

Roanoke County released a statement Saturday that further details the response to the incident:

"The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) responded to the initial incident and have been coordinating with NSC on the removal of the rail cars and coal from the Roanoke River. Any environmental impacts from the coal are expected to be largely physical in nature. However, DEQ is coordinating with local, state and federal agencies and Norfolk Southern to collect samples to determine whether there have been any impacts to water quality.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is working closely with the City of Salem Water Treatment Plant to ensure drinking water service is not disrupted. Out of an abundance of caution, Salem is currently withdrawing water from groundwater wells and not the Roanoke River until the water samples from the river can be collected and analyzed. The City has sufficient back-up water resources and no disruptions to service are anticipated.

The Emergency Managers from Roanoke County and the City of Salem are also working with Norfolk Southern to ensure the safety of citizens as response efforts continue."

UPDATE: Norfolk Southern says 26 rail cars were on their way to Norfolk from Weller, carrying coal. No hazardous substances were a part of the derailment.

The cause of the incident is still being looked into.

EARLIER: A train derailed along Barley Drive overnight near the Roanoke County-Salem City line, according to Roanoke County emergency officials.

The railroad bridge over Barley Drive collapsed, dumping multiple rail cars into the road and Roanoke River.

Norfolk Southern and contractor crews are on scene. A hazmat crew has come and gone.

The train seems to have been carrying coal.

This story is still developing.

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