(Spring City, Tennessee – July 28, 2016)
Normal life in the Rhea County, TN community of Spring City, about 60 miles southwest of Knoxville, came to an abrupt halt Thursday evening at about 9:00 P.M. when a Norfolk Southern coal train derailed 49 carloads of coal of a 122 car coal train powered by three locomotives in the virtual midst of the town’s downtown area.
Although no cars of hazardous material were involved or in the train’s consist, many of the open-top hopper cars overturned and spilled the entirety of their coal load onto the ground near the tracks. The railroad tracks carry a daily average of 70 freight trains through Spring City at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph.
The derailment also knocked out electrical power for over 500 residential and commercial customers in and near the Spring City community. A witness to the event told Ken Nicholson of WRCB-TV and Luke Slabaugh of WBIR News Radio that the accident “looked extremely violent, with cars rolling and tumbling.”