Train derails in Spring City

The wreckage of a Norfolk-Southern train is pictured above after it derailed in downtown Spring City on Thursday night. According to county officials, no one was injured in the wreck.

No one was injured in a Norfolk-Southern train derailment on Thursday at around 9 p.m. in downtown Spring City, according to county officials.

Norfolk-Southern Spokeswoman Susan Terpay said nearly 50 train cars hauling coal derailed and shut down streets in Spring City and part of Highway 27.

She said the three-locomotive train was hauling 122 train cars.

Rhea County Sheriff Mike Neal responded to the scene and said on Thursday night that no injuries were reported.

Spring City officials said that Norfolk-Southern asked that both the middle and southbound lanes on Highway 27, as well as Front Street, be closed in order to aid in the cleanup of the derailment. 

“Therefore, Nature Park will be closed as well.,” city officials said in a statement. ”They will remain closed until we are given permission from Norfolk-Southern to open them back up. The two northbound lanes will be open for two-way traffic.” 

City officials urged motorists and residents to find alternate routes if traveling through the area. 

“Please, use caution or find an alternate route,” officials said. “Please, use the Highway 68 bypass or Hoyal Lane/Industrial Park Boulevard as an alternate route. We will keep you posted on the progress. Thank you in advance for your patience during this time.”

Norfolk-Southern officials estimate that the wreck could be cleaned up and normal traffic conditions restored by Sunday.

“[Norfolk-Southern] is working to clear and repair the track and estimates that the track will be back in service by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 30,” railroad officials said in a released statement.  “[Norfolk-Southern] is currently rerouting traffic in order to minimize the impact; however, customers with shipments normally moving over this route should expect delays of 24 to 48 hours.”

Spring City resident and Rhea County Commissioner Jim Reed praised first responders for their response to the derailment. 

“It’s times like this that we see how important the emergency workers are in our community,” Reed said. “Both paid and volunteer personnel are always there for us. Whether it’s a train derailment like [Thursday] or any other situation, they are always willing to risk their safety for ours. Thank you for your dedication to our community.”

Norfolk-Southern is still investigating the cause of the derailment.

Reed Johnson can be contacted at reed.johnson@rheaheraldnews.com.