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Rail News from Central Virginia

Week of April 6, 1998

Lynchburg Crash and Fire

Last week's big story was Tuesday's (3/31) head on collision and fire near Lynchburg's Kemper St. Station. 65 cars rolled free from Montview Yard after a newly-hired brakeman closed the wrong angle cock, effectively bottling the air, while making a cut. The cars traveled north on #2 track, reaching speeds over thirty mph before slamming into stopped train 155. At the time of the wreck, 9:30am, the 155 had been without a crew for six hours and thankfully no one was injured in the crash and massive fire that followed. Ten cars derailed. The resulting fire, fed by diesel fuel and a tank car filled with acetone, destroyed several freight cars and two locomotives. The City of Lynchburg's salt shed and the equipment stored inside, valued in excess of $ 1 million, also succumbed. The first two locomotives, NS 6154 (SD40-2) and NS 8917 (C40-9W), were a complete loss and they were scrapped on site. The last loco, NS 8580 (C39-8), will be repaired and returned to service.

As a result of wreck NS detoured trains via the Hurt Connection and Roanoke, as well as the Old Main Line, CSXT James River Sub and Glasgow. Trains 266, 212 and 211 detoured. Amtrak re-routed its southbound Crescent, #19, via the Carolinian's Richmond and Raleigh route. Hulcher and NS crews returned #1 track to service at12:40 am, allowing the northbound Crescent to operate normally. NS called in a work train with the "big hook" from Roanoke, but it was not used.

Click on the photos for enlargements. Fire photo by Mark L. Thompson, Lynchburg News and Advance. Aftermath photos by G.R. Harper.

Virginia Central Rolling Stock on the Move

Three Virginia Central cars traveled over the mountain from Staunton on Friday, April 3, on the Mountain local, H74003. The cars were then forwarded to the Richmond area on Monday's (4/6) H75606. They will be used in a film production.

Special Moves Department

On May 9 the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer will host a round trip excursion with Amtrak Superliner equipment from Salisbury to Charlottesville. The train is expected to arrive in Charlottesville at noon and depart at 3PM. The following day, May 10, the excursion train will make a round trip to Asheville.


CSXT engine 721 on a westbound empty coal train (3/29/98)

-Paul Wilson