Cause of train derailment in Jefferson County released after 6 months

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock

BARTOW, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Nearly six months ago, a train derailed in Jefferson County, spilling thousands of gallons of chemicals and causing hundreds to evacuate. It left people worried for their safety.

News 12 is now learning that a broken rail was likely to blame.

"They were stating that it was like a poison, toxic and it would just be safer for us to evacuate," said Mashonda Tennyson.

More than 500 homes were evacuated. Mayor Robert Morris said it took about two months, but everything is back to normal in Bartow. At the time of the crash, there was no cause released. NTSB wasn't able to be there to investigate because of a government shutdown at the time.

However, a report from the Norfolk Southern Railway Company reports the train ran over a broken rail on the track, causing it to derail. This is shining a light on how crucial maintenance can be to prevent accidents like this.

This month, CSX Transportation is replacing old railroad ties at 55 locations throughout the region. The repairs should only take a few days per location, and should not affect traffic too much according to Assistant Director of Traffic John Ussery.

For a list of repair locations, click here.

"Considering the short notice we had, I think we're trying to make it work as well as we can," said Ussery.

Anything that prevents what happened in January from happening again is well worth it.

Neither the National Transportation Safety Board nor the Federal Railroad Administration were able to release information on whether they're doing an investigation on the accident, but we'll be sure to update you as we find out more.