Derailed train diverts traffic near Boykins

Published 9:33 am Saturday, August 22, 2009

BOYKINS—Two railroad cars derailed just outside of Boykins early Friday morning, blocking Virginia Route 186 for several hours.

Michelle King, spokeswoman for RailAmerica Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla., said the derailment occurred at 5:15 a.m. along the North Carolina & Virginia Railroad tracks, and involved two empty bulkhead flat cars. According to King, the train was heading southbound and an NCVA engine was pulling the cars.

“Everything’s fine,” said Boykins Mayor Spier Edwards, who was at the scene just outside of the town limits. “A car jumped the track. They haven’t fixed the problem, but they cut the train loose so cars could get through.”

There were no injuries or cargo spills, King said.

“I was half awake when I heard this really loud scraping sound,” said Bobby Carr, whose White Street home is near the tracks. “I told myself that train must have jumped the tracks, because that’s the wrong sound. It wasn’t like a coupling sound.”

Workers with Cranemasters Inc. of Richmond were at the derailment site working to uncouple some of the train cars so that Virginia Route 186 could be reopened to traffic. The crossing gates were raised and the road was reopened at 10:45 a.m.

Edwards said he thought Friday’s derailment was the fifth in eight years around the town.

Roy and Cheryl Ricks, owners of the nearby Boykins Service Center, said they were happy to see the road reopened before lunchtime.

“I don’t think they can handle all of that weight,” Roy Ricks said. “They haul a lot of heavy steel down that track.”

Cheryl Ricks added, “I don’t know what they can do about it.”

RailAmerica owns the NCVA, which is based in Ahoskie, N.C.