Freight train derails; 22 cars slip off track
By Lee Williams
Published in News on August 27, 2007 1:46 PM
PIKEVILLE -- A freight train carrying animal feed derailed at about 3 p.m. Sunday near a cotton field off U.S. 117 North and Hicks Road.
The CSX train was bound for Warsaw in Duplin County to make a delivery when several rail cars in the middle of the train derailed and tipped over on their left sides.
A two-man crew was aboard the train. No one was injured and no hazardous materials were on board, said Meg Sacks, spokeswoman for CSX based out of Jacksonville, Fla.
"The train had 65 grain cars, and 22 cars derailed," Mrs. Sacks said. "The train was coming from Ohio by way of Rocky Mount to Warsaw to one of our customers."
Units of the Pikeville, Belfast and Nahunta volunteer fire departments and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene to assist the train crew. No residents in the area had to be evacuated.
Ray Sasser, 53, of Pikeville, had just peeked out of his window to watch the train go by when he heard the commotion.
His view was obstructed by a thick patch of trees in front of the railroad tracks where the train derailed.
"The train wasn't going fast," he said while standing in his yard staring at the stalled locomotive with his nephew, Herman Braswell, 42, of Patetown.
Normally, it takes only a few minutes for the train to pass his house. This time sounded different, he said.
"It wasn't loud. It was like 'Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom,'" Sasser said. "I came outside and saw a cloud of dust."
A derailment team has been dispatched to the area, and Mrs. Sacks said it could take several days to clear the track -- and to determine an actual cause.
Mrs. Sacks said the derailment team will look at several factors to determine a cause.
"We look at the track, the rail cars and the way it was being operated at the time," she said.
She said the derailment team's goal is not only to determine a cause, but also to find ways to prevent future accidents.
The train was operating on a spur line that comes off of the I-95 main corridor. Only one other grain train was affected by the derailment.
She added that she did not believe many, if any, freight trains would have to be rerouted as a result on the derailment.
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