Train derails in East Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Train derails in East Memphis

Chopper 5 over a train derailment at Poplar and Mendenhall. Chopper 5 over a train derailment at Poplar and Mendenhall.

(WMC-TV) – A train derailed in East Memphis early Sunday morning causing potential traffic problems as people hit the roads.

The derailment left several cars off the tracks near Poplar and Mendenhall and asphalt at the railroad crossing at Truse Parkway and Mendenhall has been severely damaged.

Investigators say the derailment happened around 6:15 Sunday morning. No one was injured and no cars traveling along the street were damaged.

By 8 a.m., police had sections of the street blocked in East Memphis as crews began moving in heavy equipment to right the toppled train cars.

On most days, about two dozen Norfolk Southern trains move down Poplar without a hitch.  Five train cars jumped the tracks Sunday.

"I looked over and did a double take, and cars started falling over," said witness Joe Cooper.

One container landed in the eastbound lane of Poplar.  Norfolk Southern crews responded quickly and devised a plan to move the metal cars off the road.

The train took out power lines, railroad lights and signs at four crossings before it jumped the tracks.

The tracks reopened at around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, but hours later, roads around the clean up were still closed to street traffic.

Despite the inconvenience, those who frequent the area were thankful no one got hurt.

"It's a mess," said spectator Walter Phelan.  "Thankfully, it didn't happen during the week when all the traffic would be up and down."

The train was not carrying any hazardous material.

Late Sunday night, all roads on Poplar Avenue were open to traffic.

A spokesperson for Norfolk Southern said the speed limit for trains along this track is 30 miles per hour and the accident is under investigation.

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