CRAMERTON One rail track reopened at 6:20 a.m. Tuesday as cleanup continued at the site of Monday’s Norfolk Southern freight train derailment in eastern Gaston County.
Railway spokesman Robin Chapman said 31 cars derailed and that four were fully loaded with flammable liquefied petroleum gas. There was no spillage, he said.
The 121-car train with three locomotives and a two-member crew was headed from Linwood, N.C., to Macon, Ga., when it derailed around 4:30 p.m. near Eighth Avenue in Cramerton. There were no injuries.
Chapman said the speed limit on that stretch of tracks is 60 mph, but he didn’t know how fast the train was actually going. An investigation into the cause of the derailment could take several weeks, he said.
Most of the cars are being restored to the rail, Chapman said, but several may be hauled away, depending on the extent of damage.
As a precautionary measure on Monday, about 40 Cramerton homes were evacuated as Gaston County hazardous materials investigators evaluated the scene.
Maj. Clyde Cantrell of the Gaston County Emergency Medical Services said families got the OK to return home around 7:50 p.m.
On Tuesday, Cantrell called the derailment a “significant event” with a “tremendous amount of potential to be more serious…we’re very fortunate it wasn’t any more significant.”
The derailment delayed Amtrak’s Crescent passenger trains that travel daily between New York City and New Orleans. The Crescent 19, which goes from New York to New Orleans, was delayed 4 hours and 45 minutes, while the Crescent 20, which travels from New Orleans to New York, saw a 5-hour, 15-minute delay, Amtrak spokeswoman Christina Leeds said.
Service was back to normal at 6 a.m. Tuesday, she said.