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MEMPHIS, TN – A Norfolk Southern train derailed in Memphis, TN on Sunday, February 5, 2012 tipping over a double stacked shipping container onto the street that runs alongside the tracks.

Crews and heavy equipment work to put rail cars back on the tracks after a Norfolk Southern train derailment in Memphis, TN on Sunday, February 5, 2012. Photo credit:

Memphis is located in Shelby County, Tennessee in the southwest corner of the state about 212 miles southwest of Nashville, 15 miles northwest of Germantown and about 13.5 miles southwest of Bartlett.


The accident happened early in the morning around 5:45 a.m. when a freight train pulling 19 box cars jumped the tracks near Poplar Ave. and Mendenhall Rd. The 18th car derailed and the mishap affected traffic on Poplar between Mendenhall and Colonial Rd.

Map showing location of Norfolk Southern train derailment in memphis, TN along Poplar Ave between Mendenhall Rd and Colonial Rd.

An article in the WMC-TV website in Memphis reported on the story:

“Thankfully, it happened on a Sunday morning,” said Memphis City Council member Kemp Conrad. “Had it happened during rush hour, it could have been a lot different outcome. … The 18th train car derailed causing one container to fall onto Poplar, according to the company. Workers used heavy equipment to lift the container and resumed train operations by 1:30 Sunday afternoon. … Norfolk Southern is currently making repairs to four crossings along Poplar, including repairing lights and gates at Truse Parkway, Mendenhall and White Station.”

The tracks run alongside a stretch of Poplar Ave and the train was carrying double stacked containers. One of the containers tipped over and fell onto Poplar.

Fortunately, the derailment occurred in the early morning hours. Poplar Ave was not busy at the time and the container didn’t hit any vehicles, businesses or pedestrians. It could have been much worse.

Also, it was fortunate that no railroad workers were injured in the mishap or that anyone else was hurt. No hazardous materials were spilled and no evacuations had to be ordered.

The cause of the derailment was a complete mystery to residents who witnessed the events. Norfolk Southern was contacted by news people but offered no definitive explanation as to what caused the derailment.

Traffic had to be diverted on Poplar Ave between Medenhall Rd. and Colonial Rd.

The derailment is currently under investigation.

FELA Lawyer News Blog is a FELA, train accident and personal injury blog that publishes up to date train accidents, train derailments and FELA legal news from across the United States. The Federal Employers ‘Liability Act, (FELA) allows injured railroad workers to recover compensation based on the negligence of the railroad company, in lieu of workers’ compensation. FELA defines negligence as the railroad company’s failure to use reasonable care.

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