CSX Train Derails, Injuring 3 Workers In New River Gorge

Written by Kyra Senese, Managing Editor
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David C. Lester

A CSX train derailed during the early morning hours of March 8 in West Virginia’s New River Gorge. No life-threatening injuries or hazardous materials were reported.

CSX said in a statement that the derailment took place after a 109-car empty coal train collided with a rock slide in Sandstone shortly before 5 a.m.

One of the train’s four derailed locomotives caught fire. According to the West Virginia Emergency Management Division, one locomotive and one fuel tank ended up in the river.

There were three crew members on board: an engineer, a conductor, and an engineer trainee, a local news report said. According to CSX, all three were injured, though the degree of their injuries was not immediately clear.

The railroad stated that an unknown amount of diesel fuel spilled and that containment measures would be implemented in the New River. The Department of Health and Human Resources alerted local water systems, and West Virginia American Water is monitoring water quality and has not closed any intakes.

In a statement, CSX said a CSX train struck a rockslide in Sandstone at 4:51 a.m.,  causing the empty coal train to derail. All four of the train’s locomotives and nine empty coal cars derailed, CSX said. 

The lead locomotive caught fire and the crew members are being treated for non-life threatening injuries. The incident posed no danger to the public, CSX said. 

“We greatly appreciate the swift actions of the local first responders in Sandstone that rendered aid to our valued crew members,” CSX said in a statement. “The safety of our employees and the community is our top priority as we dispatch our teams to assess the situation and develop a plan to completely restore the area.” 

CSX said it is coordinating with local police and fire officials on recovery efforts.

Because of the derailment, Amtrak’s Cardinal service was canceled in both directions through West Virginia, according to a local news report.