Tilt halts trains west of town
Two westbound coal trains are stopped this morning west of town, including one stretching from the Teague Funeral Home on Ivy Road nearly to the Farmington crossing after a car on a train ahead developed an unexpected tilt (as seen in this photo shot at the West Leigh Drive crossing near Ivy).
Steve Powell, general manager of the Buckingham Branch Railroad, says the situation is under control and that trains should be moving again in time for the afternoon run of Amtrak's "Cardinal" passenger train. According to Amtrak's schedule, the Cardinal is slated to head west out of Charlottesville at 1:55pm.
Will the track be cleared in time?
"We hope so," Powell said at 9:40am. "We should have this thing cleared up in an hour and a half to two hours."
Powell says that no wheels came off the track, so this incident is not a derailment– just, as he terms it, "an operational hiccup."
Powell notes that both stopped trains– both pulling empty coal cars– are operated by CSX, the mega-railroad that leases this line to Buckingham Branch. According to a Hook reporter's odometer, the train visible from Ivy Road is about 1.15 miles long.
The railroad experienced a more serious incident in January during a Waynesboro derailment that Powell says closed the line for about 20 hours. Powell did not know the time or the cause of this morning's incident.
2pm update: Train #51, the Amtrak Cardinal, just rolled through town on its way west, and Amtrak.com reports that it's running on time. Meanwhile, Buckingham Branch GM Powell says he didn't follow the repair schedule. "It really wasn't," he said, "too big a deal."