Freight train derails in Alexandria after apparent partial bridge collapse

Freight train derails in Alexandria after apparent partial bridge collapse
A CSX freight train derailed near the Eisenhower corridor on Saturday morning (Photo courtesy Alexandria Fire Department)

A CSX freight train derailed Saturday morning in the Eisenhower corridor after what was initially reported as a partial railway bridge collapse.

Thirty-one train cars fell off the tracks shortly after 7 a.m. on Saturday, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, the lead investigative agency on the derailment.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwait said during a Saturday afternoon briefing that the organization’s initial findings indicate the train derailed before it reached the bridge and struck the bridge while derailing. 

A city news release said all crew members on the freight train were accounted for and there were no injuries as a result of the incident. The train wasn’t carrying ethanol or hazardous cargo, according to the city, and public safety officials haven’t identified spills or leaks.

The city said in the release that there will be an “extensive operation” to fix the derailment and investigate the cause. 

A CSX spokesperson said on Sunday that clean-up of the site was underway.

“CSX continues to work closely with local, state and federal officials at the site of Saturday mornings derailment in Alexandria, Virginia. Overnight and throughout the day [Sunday], crews were given approval to move the locomotives from the train, re-rail the cars without damage, remove the derailed railcars with damage and begin cleaning up debris,” The spokesperson said in a provided statement.

The spokesperson said passenger train service has resumed at slower speeds on two of the three tracks, where there were no structural impacts or damage from the derailment.

“… While there is no timeline for the completion of the clean-up work, CSX and its contractors will work around the clock, as safely as possible and as approved by the NTSB.  We are also coordinating closely with passenger service providers and the City of Alexandria about any impacts to commuter and passenger train schedules,” the statement concluded.