A CSX train passing through Chattanooga jumped off its track around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, May 23, near the 3200 block of Broad Street. No injuries were reported and there was no indication of any threat to the surrounding public. CSX Railroad officials on the scene said up to 28 rail cars were off the tracks.
Some of the cars tumbled onto their sides down an embankment while others pushed their way on top of one another.
Battalion Chief Rick Sewell said that several fire companies responded to the scene, as well as the hazmat team, since trains often carry large loads of hazardous materials. In this case, CSX officials said most of the rail cars were empty. However, one car was loaded with Ferrous Sulfate, which is a fertilizer.
Chief Sewell said the car carrying the fertilizer was damaged in the wreck and about 100 pounds of the pelletized material spilled onto the ground. Concerned that the spilled material could contaminate Chattanooga Creek, which is located nearby, an environmental cleanup company was brought in to clean up the spill. Chief Sewell said the rail car would have to be off-loaded before it could be moved back on the track.
Meantime, CSX personnel were being called in from around the region to deal with the derailment. There was no immediate word on how long it would take to re-rail the cars and repair the track. Chattanooga police had the south-bound lanes of Broad Street closed for a time, but they were re-opened after it was determined the derailment posed no threat to the public. CSX and possibly other agencies will be investigating the cause of the derailment.