(Scottsburg, Indiana – May 17, 2014)
The Saturday morning derailment of at least six cars directly behind the locomotives of a CSX train hauling over 70 cars loaded with new automobiles in the middle of Scottsburg, IN at about 8:30 A.M. resulted in the virtual shut down of the community this past weekend. The derailment occurred as the locomotives reached the north end of town. The CXS locomotive engineer said he heard a loud “pop” and the cars directly behind the locomotives began derailing into the backyards of community residents who live near the tracks.
One of those neighbors to the railroad line, which is owned by the Indiana & Louisville Railroad with CSX trains operating over it through trackage rights, Rachel Mahan, suspected that something of the kind might happen eventually with what she determined to be a lack of track maintenance.
“I’m like, are you kidding?” said Mahan. “I always wondered if something like this was going to happen,” she continued.
With the mile-and-a-half long train blocking every crossing in town except for the Lovers’ Lane intersection at the extreme north end of town, Scottsburg Fire Chief James Richey surmised that “It’s long enough to roughly cripple the city.”
Among the thoroughfares shut down was the heavily-traveled Highway 56.
The owning Indiana & Louisville RR finally dispatched a locomotive to the rear of the train, where it coupled into the string of underailed cars and pulled them out of town to clear the vehicular traffic.
Meanwhile, scores of onlookers observed the clearing activity, many from their yards and windows.
Scott County Emergency Management Agency Director David Murphy predicted that the clearing of the wrecked cars could take “possibly weeks,” adding that “The magnitude of what we’re dealing with here with the number of cars, it will take some time.”
Fire Chief Richey, meanwhile, indicated his relief that the train was carrying no hazardous materials, which would have significantly changed the situation. “It was honestly the best case scenario of a train derailment with no injuries or hazardous materials,” he observed, thankfully.