Train derailment clean up impacts residents: ‘It’s louder than a train!’

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SUFFOLK, Va. – “It looked like a TV movie or something.” It’s the only way Suffolk resident Marvin Copeland knew how to describe a train derailment he witnessed over the weekend.

The crash left 44 cars overturned, according to Norfolk Southern officials, and 4,500 tons of coal spewed about leaving a black cloud in its wake.

“The house was shaking and I heard a lot of stuff hitting up against the house. And it sounded like a hurricane coming through,” said Copeland.

Thankfully, no one was injured in the accident.

On Monday, the derailed train was surrounded by heavy machinery and crews, working to clean up the mess. Nearby residents tell News 3’s Merris Badcock they are trying to be patient with crews as they work to pick up the train pieces, but the deafening noise of the machinery is starting to weigh on their sanity.

“I know that they have to do what they have to do, but they also worked two nights in a row,” said Copeland. “I’m adjusting.”

“The train comes through pretty often,” said Bishop Staten who lives nearby the crash site. “Everybody is use to the train, but this particular night it was very different. It was a loud bang, and it kept on going ‘boom, boom, boom’.”

Norfolk Southern officials say service on the track has resumed, but residents are still unable to use the road at Wellons Street.

Norfolk Southern officials say the cause of the derailment is still under investigation. Some residents told News 3 they think speeding may have contributed to the crash.

Officials say on Wednesday they will start removing the damaged cars from the crash site. They were not able to provide a final date of completion for repairs.

Previous coverage:

Train derails in downtown Suffolk