No doubt many of you heard about the big derailment at Draffin KY this morning. A southbound loaded ethanol train with 96 tankers and two buffer cars struck a big slide just south of the new Pond Creek bridge off US 460. Draffin is between Shelby and Elkhorn City. This segment used to be the Big Sandy Sub., but now it is part of the Kingsport Sub. The estimated time of the derailment was 7:05 AM. One report said two engines and another said three. It is such a mess that all I can confirm is two. The CSX news release said 4 ethanol tank cars and the front buffer car derailed. As the engines slid down the embankment and nosed into the rain swollen Russell Fork the fuel tanks ruptured causing a huge fire. From the cell phone videos that I saw the crew came out the front door with the fire raging behind them and the rushing river covering the coupler!! They were rescued by boat with non-life threatening injuries (??).
1. View from the Pond Creek bridge at about 5:00 PM.
2. View 2 from the Pond Creek bridge at about 5:00 PM.
3. Some of the R. J. Corman and Donahue equipment that was coming in.
4. View from US 460 showing small fire still burning on river bank and the extant of the slide.
5. These people witnessed a fiery conflagration this morning! Honestly folks, one cell phone video revealed that the crew had a choice of burning up or drowning! You can probably go on line and find footage of this.
6. Debris was still coming down this afternoon.
7. You can make out two locomotives and tank cars. I have no idea what the engine numbers were.
8. One tank car was pushed into the edge of the river and almost completely covered.
9. The Federal buffer car is above the fire on the left. Reports say they were loaded with sand. The only Federal cars I’ve shot were big wood chip hoppers in North Carolina. The only buffer cars I’ve seen were covered hoppers. The remainder of the train was pulled back to Shelby.
Frankly I’m surprised CSX ran any trains considering the amount of rain that has fallen the past few days. There have been slides and flooding throughout the area.
Early today there was a slide covering old US 52 over the east mouth of NS’s Mingo Tunnel in West Williamson WV. I don’t know the extent of that, but the road was blocked.
More on both of these events later.