Railway workers injured in Columbia train derailment

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Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 10:33 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Tuesday afternoon a spokesperson for Norfolk Southern said the two injured crew members were released from the hospital Monday night.

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A train derailment in Columbia on Monday caused a fuel spill and sent two railway employees to the hospital.

The Norfolk Southern train derailed at around 8:20 A.M., according to the Columbia-Richland Fire Department. It happened about a half mile down the railroad tracks near Longwood Road, which is not far from Shop Road.

“You don’t see these too often,” Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins said. “So, you have to kind of take them seriously and just make sure that everything is ok.”

Connor Spielmaker, the spokesperson for Norfolk Southern, said its train was headed from Atlanta to Charleston when it derailed. The company added that three locomotives and three cars were involved.

At around 11:30 A.M. Norfolk Southern released a statement on the crash, which reads: “Norfolk Southern is grateful to the first responders in Columbia for their quick response and taking care of our crew who remain at a local hospital. We have responded to the scene with additional personnel and partners to begin the clean-up and repairs to reopen the track and appreciate the public’s patience during this process.”

In addition to Norfolk Southern staff and the Columbia Fire Department, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control also responded to the scene Monday morning.

The Norfolk Southern train collided with another already derailed industry locomotive that was in its way, the company spokesperson said.

It’s unclear how long that other locomotive had been derailed, or which company owns it.

Following the derailment, there was a diesel fuel spill, Jenkins said it was contained.

“I think the most important thing for the public to know there is no danger to the public at all from this train wreck,” he said.

Jenkins said this fuel spill differed from last week’s hazmat spill on I-77, which caused a local town to shelter in place, because there was no “off-gassing” from this diesel.

Spielmaker said it typically takes between 12 and 24 hours to clear a track after an incident like this and have traffic moving again. He reiterated though, that the main concern right now is the safety of its two employees, who were transported by Richland County EMS to local hospitals.

No further update on their conditions is available at this time.

Norfolk Southern is conducting a full investigation into what caused the trains to derail.

That report will be sent to the Federal Railroad Administration.

A train derailed Monday morning in Columbia and sent at least two people to the hospital.
A train derailed Monday morning in Columbia and sent at least two people to the hospital.(Columbia Fire Department)
A train derailment Monday morning happened near Longwood Drive in Columbia.
A train derailment Monday morning happened near Longwood Drive in Columbia.(Columbia Fire Department)

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