Cause of East Memphis train derailment still unknown - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cause of East Memphis train derailment still unknown

(WMC-TV) - Train traffic is moving again in East Memphis after a derailment Sunday, but Mendenhall has been closed all day so workers can repair the tracks where the massive container spilled onto Poplar Avenue.

However, Norfolk Southern still doesn't know how it happened.

East Memphians couldn't believe their eyes early Sunday morning after a train derailed at one of Poplar Avenue's busiest intersections.

"One of those traffic lights was pulled clear up out of the ground with the concrete and everything," said Kelly Dickers.

Chopper 5 video showed how one of the containers landed in the right lane of eastbound traffic.

Feras Hdaib, of the Boyer Hair Group, had to turn away some Sunday clients. He said he's never worried about how close the train tracks are to the business until now.

Luckily, the derailment happened at 5:45 Sunday morning.

"Thankfully, it happened on a Sunday morning," said Memphis City Council member Kemp Conrad. "Had it happened during rush hour, it could have been a lot different outcome."

The railway runs along Conrad's district. He lives and works nearby and saw the commotion.

Conrad said plans are already in the works to reduce train traffic located just a stone's throw from dozens of businesses.

"When the new Norfolk Southern intermodal yard is completed out in Piperton in Fayette County, a lot of the traffic that goes up and down Poplar is not going to be there anymore," he said.

The new yard should be up and running by Summer.

Norfolk Southern said the exact cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

The 18th train car derailed causing one container to fall onto Poplar, according to the company. Workers used heavy equipment to lift the container and resumed train operations by 1:30 Sunday afternoon.

Norfolk Southern is currently making repairs to four crossings along Poplar, including repairing lights and gates at Truse Parkway, Mendenhall and White Station.

The company's representatives call the incident highly unusual and said no one could recall a similar incident ever occurring.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly