‘I’ve never heard a noise that loud’: Cleanup continues after Oconee trail derailment

32 train cars came off the tracks in Oconee, and crews are still cleaning up.
Traind

OCONEE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Crews have worked tirelessly to clean up and make repairs after 32 rail cars came off the railroad tracks in Oconee early Monday.

Local authorities say crews have made significant progress but they expect them to keep working until the railroad is functional again.

“The timeline we’re getting from the crews on scene is they’re anticipating having the roadway and the actual rail line itself back in operation either early this evening or early in the morning,” Washington County Sheriff Joel Cochran said Monday.

Sheriff Cochran says he was woken out of his sleep around 1 a.m. Monday with a call that a train had derailed on Central Drive in Oconee.

Troy Foskey lives right across the street from the train tracks and says the noise from the engine going off the rails was unlike he had heard before.

“I thought it was bad weather,” Foskey said .”I thought the storm hit. I’ve never heard a noise that loud. It shook my house.”

Norfolk Southern says the train was carrying mixed freight and travellng from Columbia, South Carolina to Macon. The company gave a statement saying: “Norfolk Southern personnel and contractors are on-site working with local responders to coordinate cleanup and recovery efforts … The cause of the derailment is under investigation.”

When the Washington County Sheriff’s Office got to the tracks, deputies made sure to find all train crew. Sheriff Cochran says he’s thankful no one got hurt.

“We’re blessed that no one was injured in this incident, and we’re very thankful for the fast response from Norfolk Southern and the folks they’re working with to get the roads back open and get the trains back moving.”

Authorities suggest taking Highway 272 to avoid the area.

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