Collegedale, TN – A train carrying diesel fuel derailed on Tuesday after slamming into a massive concrete bridge beam being hauled across the tracks by a semi-truck (video below).
The collision occurred at the intersection of University Drive and Apison Pike at approximately 12:20 p.m. on Dec. 20, WRCB reported.
Hamilton County Emergency Preparedness Spokesperson Amy Maxwell said the flatbed tractor-trailer was hauling a 134-foot concrete truss beam across the tracks when the cargo train slammed into the side of it, according to the Chattanoogan.
Cell phone footage of the crash showed the train barreling into the side of the beam, demolishing the truck and shoving the massive section of concrete down the tracks at a high rate of speed.
A cloud of debris immediately erupted in the train’s wake, completely obstructing the view of the boxcars trailing behind.
The Norfolk Southern train, which was comprised of three locomotives and 10 boxcars, ultimately derailed and overturned, spilling a large amount of diesel fuel onto the ground, WRCB reported.
An estimated 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into Wolftever Creek as a result of the crash, according to WTVC.
Personnel are trying to stop a diesel and lube oil leak from two of the locomotives. No other hazardous materials are involved at this time. A number of different agencies are working this incident. Photos from BC2 Schroyer. pic.twitter.com/QEjeImSq0o
— Chattanooga Fire Department (@ChattFireDept) December 20, 2022
Two Norfolk Southern employees suffered minor injuries in the collision, Maxwell told WRCB.
The driver of the truck was not injured.
“Personnel are trying to stop a diesel and lube oil leak from two of the locomotives,” the Chattanooga Fire Department (CFD) tweeted a short while after the crash. “No other hazardous materials are involved at this time. A number of different agencies are working this incident.”
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) said the concrete bridge beam was intended to be part of a reconstruction project on SR 317, the Chattanoogan reported.
“Both roads are closed at this time and will remain closed until a crash investigation has been completed and the incident has been cleared,” the TDOT said. “TDOT, Norfolk Southern, and emergency responders are on the scene.”
“Consider an alternate route through the area, if possible. This will be a lengthy closure,” TDOT added.
Earlier today, a train hit a bridge beam that was en route to the SR 317 reconstruction project, resulting in a derailment near the intersection of Apison Pike & University Drive. Both roads are closed in this area. Consider an alternate route. This will be a lengthy closure. pic.twitter.com/ipNcR2o8YG
— Rae Anne Bradley (@RaeAnneTDOT) December 20, 2022
Officials later said the driver of the tractor-trailer had encountered a red light at the intersection with Tucker Road, forcing him to stop the vehicle on the train tracks, the Chattanoogan reported.
“During that time, Norfolk Southern Railroad activated its crossing arms,” Maxwell told the news outlet. “The tractor trailer was unsuccessful of clearing the railroad tracks and was hit by the train. Three locomotives and 10 railroad cars derailed and slammed into each other causing a disastrous mess.”
The CFD, the Hamilton County Hazmat Team, and the Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department utilized “absorbent booms and pads” to help clean up the large diesel spill, she added.
The railroad crossing was reopened by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, WTVC reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below:
WATCH: Moment train collided with truck hauling concrete barrier in Collegedale, Tennessee; at least 2 people were injured
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 20, 2022