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News Photos: Train derailed by tornado in Kentucky

By | December 11, 2021

Photos show widespread storm damage around derailment site

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Aerial view of train derailed by tornado
Aerial view of train derailed by tornado
CSX train Q500 was derailed by a tornado shortly after midnight today near Earlington, Ky. (Jim Pearson)

Aerial view showing cars some distance from tracks after derailment
A number of cars ended up well off the track after the derailment. (Jim Pearson)

 

EARLINGTON, Ky. — Photos of today’s tornado-caused derailment of a CSX train near Earlington, Ky., show the train caught in widespread devastation resulting from the overnight storm.

CSX says 28 cars derailed shortly after midnight today [see “Tornado derails train in Kentucky, Trains News Wire, Dec. 11, 2021]. An initial report said the cars were empty, although these drone images from photographer Jim Pearson show at least one hopper car with a spilled load.

The train involved, Q500, derailed between Earlington and Mortons Gap, Ky., on CSX’s Henderson subdivision. No injuries resulted from the derailment. A number of structures were leveled by the tornado, which reportedly was on the ground for more than 200 miles. Authorities are now reporting at least 70 tornado-related deaths in Kentucky, one of six states hit by a total of more than 30 tornadoes.

Aereal view showing debris from buildings and flattened trees as well as derailed railcars
A number of buildings appear to have been leveled by the tornado that derailed the train. (Jim Pearson)
View of derailed cars with debris in background.
Work was under way Saturday to clear the derailment. (Jim Pearson)
High view of derailment area showing front of train
An overall view of the derailment scene. (Jim Pearson)

8 thoughts on “News Photos: Train derailed by tornado in Kentucky

  1. Location is between Evansville, IN and Nashville, TN on CSX’s line from Chicago. I understand there is the Earlington Cutoff, a mainline separated from this one that effectively bypasses this location which would make getting traffic thru the area a lot easier. An old timetable shows the Cutoff to be about 9 miles long.

  2. Judging by the photos, the train was obviously caught in the tornado. I wonder if the CSX dispatcher had alerted the crew to the tornado emergency beforehand.

    1. Aren’t the CSX dispatchers in Jacksonville? Do they actively monitor the weather conditions in the area they’re responsible for?

      1. CSX receives weather information from the national weather service and local reporting. Warnings and operating instructions are then issued to concerned participants including train dispatchers, train crews and MofW.

  3. Given the lack of accordioned cars I suspect the train was already stopped when it was hit. I noticed the previous article noted that reports of a house being hit by the train were not true. Taking in the scope of the damage, even if there was a house in the path of the derailment, I am not sure a house would still be standing by the time the train got to it. Truly a terrible situation.

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