CRAMERTON, N.C. — Norfolk Southern Crews are still cleaning up and rebuilding a rail line in Gaston County, following a train derailment that occurred Monday night. The incident happened near Eighth Avenue in Cramerton.
Residents say the rail line is much noisier and has turned into an impromptu construction site, as crews work to get the affected rail line up and running again. For residents living along the rail line near Eighth Street in Cramerton, Monday night's train derailment was anything but expected.
“I watched the inside of the wheel just hop off of the track and I was like, 'Oh gosh,' so I took out the back door, thinking it was going to come up on the road,” said resident Jeremy Blanton.
Blanton said he was up late Monday night, and early Tuesday morning was watching all of the construction. Officials with Norfolk Southern say there were actually more cars derailed than they initially thought.
Of the 121 cars on the train, 31 cars derailed; which caused extensive damage to one of the two tracks in the area.
“[Work crews will start] reconditioning the ballast, that's the crushed rock that forms the road bed, and then they'll be bringing in prefabricated sections of track, molding them together, and then they'll be able to reopen that line to rail traffic,” said Norfolk Southern's director of public relations Robin Chapman.
No one was injured, but 32 homes were evacuated as a precautionary measure because four of the derailed cars were carrying liquefied petroleum. Tuesday, the company set up a family assistance center for those who were evacuated for approximately four hours.
“We offer reimbursement to people who incurred expenses related to the evacuation, for example meals at restaurants, or overnight stays at hotels, that kind of thing,” said Chapman.
However most residents say they will not take advantage of it.
“It is really nice because it was right around dinnertime, so a lot of people were probably cooking dinner when the sheriff knocked on the door telling them they had to leave. So it's really great that they are reimbursing people,” said resident Cassandra White.
Norfolk Southern officials say an investigation such as this one will take weeks, if not months, to determine a cause.