Crews continue clearing tracks after train derailment

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 21, 2007


A commercial train derailment halted traffic on Highway 41 and temporarily blocked a portion of U.S. Highway 80 on Friday, after several cars left the tracks about 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department responded to assist Alabama State Troopers with rerouting traffic.

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Traffic was rerouted off Highway 41, around Craig Industrial Park, south of the site on County Road 30, to County Road 7,

to Highway 80, east of Highway 41.

Don Vincent, senior operations manager for the Mississippi-based Meridian & Bigbee Railroad, said the accident occurred when engineers were backing a train south to get out of the way of an eastbound train traveling alongside U.S. Highway 80.

Vincent was in Selma on Friday assessing the situation.

“It’s too early to determine what happened,” Vincent said.

“We’ve determined it wasn’t train handling. It was possibly a broken rail, or it could have been one of the cars,” Vincent said. “We still don’t know for sure. We have to inspect the cars and it could be any number of reasons.”

Trooper John Reese confirmed there were no injuries and there were no hazardous materials involved in the derailment.

“The cars that derailed were empty,” Reese said. “The railroad estimates it may take two to three days. They’re getting their work crews in and the equipment they need in to get the derailed cars out.”

Vincent said on Friday that tracks need to be repaired, but hoped to have the derailed cars out of the area by late Friday night.

“There’s about 300 feet of track that needs to be replaced,” Vincent said.