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Coal train derails into Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp

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Dry Bulk,

A 36 car freight train carrying approximately 3600 t of coal derailed on 25 June, spilling into 2.3 acres of Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

Chris Lowie, Manager of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, stated: “The cars were a pile of metal. They were accordioned, literally. Most of them were sideways, busted up and tipped over. Coal was everywhere.”

Norfolk Southern – owner of the tracks – has stated that clean-up and removal of the damaged tracks and rail cars from the refuge could take up to three weeks.

Norfolk Southern commented that the spill “is confined to a relatively small area” and that “there is no impact to any major waterway.”

However, while Norfolk Southern is confident it will be able to successfully carry out clean-up operations, Lowie explained: “The difference here is the peat soil. You can’t just dig a hole in the ground and fill it back up with dirt and say it’s restored.”

The operator’s personnel are currently carrying out clean-up operations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

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