A train with Norfolk Southern Railway derailed Saturday evening in a North Knoxville neighborhood near Inskip Drive.Knoxville police officers were some of the first emergency responders to get to the scene after neighbors say they heard a loud crashing noise shortly after 10 p.m."Nobody was in the buildings. Nobody was harmed, and the good news is, there's no hazardous materials in the train right now. The engineers are fine," a spokesperson with the Knoxville Police Department said Saturday evening.
The train was carrying mostly electronics, furniture, toys, food, logs, and other consumer goods, according to Susan Terpay, a Knoxville spokesperson for Norfolk Southern. One rail car was carrying vehicles.According to Norfolk Southern's website, the company has about 19,500 miles of track in 22 states across the nation.
Since 2014, the company has had 579 derailments across the nation and 77 through July 2017.Key routes for the railway are inspected twice a week, according to the company.
The Knoxville community was concerned about chemicals aboard the train. Two years ago, a train with CSX derailed overnight in Blount County, releasing a chemical and causing evacuations.For Norfolk Southern trains moving into Tennessee from out of state, 12 percent of those rail cars carry chemicals. For trains moving out of Tennessee into other states, that number drops to six percent.
(Photo Courtesy of Norfolk Southern Railway Company)
In July 2017, Norfolk Southern announced its closure of its Central Division headquarters in Knoxville. The company moved 50 jobs from that office to other locations. That complete change is expected to take effect Nov. 1. The company at the time said the change will "enhance customer service and improve operating efficiencies."
Norfolk Southern's safety record on its website says 99 percent of hazardous material transported is "moved without incident." Norfolk Southern says it also offers first responders training in areas near their railways. First responders can be prepared to help the public in case of any hazmat situation.
Norfolk Southern Railway had a serious railway accident in Graniteville, South Carolina in January 6, 2005. An incident report from the Federal Railroad Administration says 14 rail cars carrying 120,000 pounds of chlorine were involved.
Nine people died, 292 were injured, and 5,200 people had to evacuate, according to the report. The cause for the derailment was a switch improperly lined on the track.