Follow us on Twitter

CHATTANOOGA, TN – A CSX train derailed in downtown Chattanooga, TN on Sunday afternoon, May 23, 2010 at around 4:30 p.m. The derailment involved 28 cars which jumped the tracks near the 3200 block of Broad Street and St. Elmo Ave. near the old Wheland Foundry site.

Twisted pile of rail cars near the 3200 block of Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. Photo credit: Bruce Garner, Chattanooga Fire Dept.

Chattanooga is located in the southeastern part of the state near its southern border with Alabama and Georgia. It is about 133 miles southeast of Nashville and about 316 miles east of Memphis.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported and there was no indication of any threat to the surrounding public.

CSX freight cars tipped over on their sides following the 28-car derailment on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at about 4:30 p.m.

Some cars slid down an embankment while others piled on top of each other. In all, 28 cars needed to be uprighted.

According to reports, the train was carrying 100 pounds of hazardous materials. Whenever a train derails in the city, the Chattanooga Fire Department always brings their hazmat team on site.


According to Battalion Chief, Rick Sewell, one car that was damaged in the train wreck was carrying fertilizer and about 100 pounds of the pelletized material spilled onto the ground. An environmental cleanup company was brought in to clean up the spill over concerns that the spilled material might contaminate nearby Chattanooga Creek.

According to Bruce Garner, Public Information Officer for the Chattanooga Fire Department, one of the rail cars was carrying fertilizer. Although some of the materials spilled into a nearby creek there were no evacuations at this time.

Garner pointed out that on any given day these trains will often carry large quantities of hazardous materials, so he said that it certainly was a concern for them.

The only thing spilled this time was some ferrous sulfate, which, according to CSX officials, is used around water treatment plants and is not hazardous to people.

Location of Sunday's train derailment in downtown Chattanooga, TN involving 28 CSX rail cars

There is an investigation into the cause of the derailment.

On Monday, one witness who lives along the tracks and who was keeping an eye on those tracks was contacted by the local media. He mentioned to them that he saw the train start swaying with all that weight and that he felt that the derailment was due to poor maintenance.

According to an article at the Chattanooga News Channel 9 website, Rob Kulat, who works with the Federal Railroad Administration, said that it was much too early in the investigation to pinpoint a cause. Kulat said that it could be “several months, six months, up to one year after a major accident” until they have a final report, but did say in most derailments that maintenance is more likely a factor than track problems. Kulat said, “I think the issue is really, more towards maintenance and to overseeing your equipment.”

Below is a Google street view of the railway crossing at Broad Street. You can click the mouse and hold it down and drag around the scene of the derailment.

View Larger Map

CSX Railroad representative Gary Sease said that the South Broad Street derailment on Sunday involved two “high volume lines.” and that the derailment was the first for his company in recent memory. He said that one of the lines off South Broad Street will be re-opened for train traffic by Monday night and the other line would be expected to open in a few days.

Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP, is a top nationwide FELA lawyer firm representing railroad workers injured on the job who need experienced attorneys knowledgeable in the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). For expert advice and FELA help, call 800.773.6770.

Comments are closed.

Search Blog
Social Portals
My Zimbio