Stuck on the Buckingham Branch
Falling trees along the rail lines that connect Charlottesville to Chicago have put a stop to all rail traffic along the CSX/Buckingham Branch rail line. Empty grain cars have been stranded rail along Ivy Road, and there are coal cars out at West Leigh, as well as three other stranded trains on the Buckingham Branch. Even the Amtrak Cardinal has been sidelined, with a West Virginia stranding of 232 passengers that made headlines on the night of the storm, Friday, June 29.
Buckingham Branch general manager Steve Powell says that it took about five days to clean up the approximately 300 trees that fell onto the tracks that his company operates between Clifton Forge and Doswell. But problems on western connecting lines still kept five trains along the Dillwyn-based company's 200-mile stretch of track.
"The biggest problem was out in West Virginia," says Powell, noting that the troubles along the CSX line meant the Cardinal was still not running even as of Sunday, July 8.
So how much– between tree removal, damage repair, and lost business– did the storm cost the Buckingham Branch?
"I wouldn't be surprised," says Powell, "if it's in excess of half a million dollars."
–story updated 11:15am, Monday, July 9 with details from Powell