Train derailment investigation uncovers cause

Published 10:14 pm Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A “broken or cracked” rail is considered the cause of the train derailment that shut down the railway through the Suffolk Meadows neighborhood on May 7, State Corporation Commission spokesperson Andy Farmer said on Wednesday.

The SCC’s Railroad Regulation section works with the Federal Railroad Administration to ensure safe railroad operations in the commonwealth and is conducting the ongoing investigation.

“The rail itself was removed and was sent to a lab for testing to determine the precise cause of the malfunction,” Farmer said in a phone interview. “That process could take several weeks or even months to complete.”

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A locomotive and eight cars derailed near the 300 block of Baron Boulevard at Shoulders Hill Road on May 7 at approximately 4 p.m., according to a city press release.

The shuttle train was coming from the Virginia International Gateway port and largely consisted of empty rail cars, with less than 100 containers aboard, according to a Port of Virginia press release on May 8. No injuries were reported, and no hazardous cargo was involved.

The track is owned and operated by Commonwealth Railway, Inc. Crews cleaned up the scene and operations on the track resumed the evening of May 9.