NS derailment in swamp sparks environmental concerns

Amtrak restores service to Norfolk; cleanup in Great Dismal Swamp will be challenging
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CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Amtrak has restored service to and from Norfolk., Va., today after it was suspended following a Tuesday Norfolk Southern derailment, but that derailment has raised environmental concerns.

Thirty-six cars of a coal train derailed into the Great Dismal Swamp National Refuge early Tuesday. The manager of the refuge, Chris Lowie, told the Associated Press “there’s not grave concern, but there is concern” about risk to the refuge’s wildlife. The greater concern, he indicated, is with the swamp’s peat soil, consisting of partially decomposed plant growth that has accumulated over centuries. It could be damaged as NS removes the coal.

“Norfolk Southern is confident they can clean this up,” Lowie told the AP. “They’ve had coal spills before. The difference here is the peat soil. You can’t just dig a hole in the ground and fill it back up with dirt and say it’s restored.”

Just reaching the site is challenging; with no nearby public roads, cleanup crews are using old logging roads.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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  • June 27, 2019
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