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PEMBROKE, WV – A Norfolk Southern train carrying coal derailed in Pembroke, VA on Tuesday, about 9:30 p.m. The derailment occurred at a railroad crossing near the intersection of River Road and Snidow Street.

Overturned coal car at the railway crossing near River Road and Snidow Street in Pembroke, VA. Photo credit: Justin Cook, The Roanoke Times

Pembroke is in Giles County, Virginia in the northwestern part of the state about 60 miles west of Roanoke, about 220 miles west of Richmond, about 114 miles west of Lynchburg and about 167 miles southwest of Charlottesville.

Reports vary, but about eight or a dozen cars in a train of 100 cars jumped the tracks in the incident and only five cars overturned. About 115 tons of coal was spilled in the mishap. The train’s 85th car was the first one to leave the tracks.

A spokesman says there were no reports of injuries. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident and no hazardous material was involved.

Authorities said that the train was on its way from Elmore, West Virginia to South Boston, Virginia when the derailment occurred. The railway crossing was near the New River.

Location of Norfolk Southern train derailment at the railroad crossing near the intersection of River Road and Snidow Street in Pembroke, VA.

In an article in the Roanoke Times website, it was reported that the coal was being moved off the tracks and that most of it would be salvageable.

Officials decided that new track had to be laid because of they were uncertain about the cause of the derailment. Some of the old track was being removed and it is expected that up to a half-mile of train tracks had to be replaced.

Train traffic was stopped after the incident and was expected to resume by late afternoon, Wednesday. In the meantime, tracks on the other side of the New River were used to take up the slack.


Late Tuesday night, railroad crews from Norfolk Southern called in a crane and an excavator to remove the coal and the cars.

Investigators are trying to figure out what caused the train to derail. Officials expect that the answer might not be known for some time.

Published by FELA lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

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