KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Norfolk Southern train derailed in North Knoxville near Inskip Drive on Saturday night, spilling shipping containers and damaging buildings.
The train was not carrying hazardous materials and no one was injured when the derailment happened in the 300 block of Inskip Drive just after 10 p.m., said Susan Terpay, director of public relations for Norfolk Southern. Terpay says a total of 20 cars left the track. Nineteen of those cars were carrying shipping containers. The twentieth car carried automobiles.
The train was made up of three locomotives and 68 rail cars.
Some rail cars struck nearby buildings, at least two of which were damaged. Gerdau Construction Products, a steel manufacturer, was struck by the derailed cars and appears to have sustained significant damage.
Knoxville police say there are many rail cars hanging precariously off the track and no one should approach the train. Norfolk Southern along with Knoxville police and fire crews will remain at the scene throughout the night to monitor the derailment and check for any potential hazards. No evacuations are needed.
Knoxville police say any unauthorized people who get on the tracks will be taken to jail.
Nearby residents recall hearing a loud screeching sound before the derailment happened.
Inskip Drive will be closed to all traffic between Coster Road and Fennel Road. Cedar Lane will be closed to traffic between Rowan Road and Fennel Road.
Inskip Drive could be closed for up to a week. Police hope to have Cedar Lane open sometime Sunday morning. Drivers should seek alternate routes through the area and expect heavy delays.
Police say Norfolk Southern will head up the investigation into why the train derailed. The integrity of the train has to be checked before the cars can be moved. Norfolk Southern says they will begin rerailing the cars and containers Sunday morning.