Mitchell gets enough rain to stop a train - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Mitchell gets enough rain to stop a train

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January 3, 2008

Meigs --  Workers spent much of the day cleaning up a diesel spill caused by a south Georgia train derailment.  The Georgia-Florida Rail line is back open now. 

It was shut down after a derailment Wednesday afternoon in Mitchell County dumped more than 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel into a ditch. 

Trains travel this Georgia-Florida Railways track daily from Thomasville to Camilla.  But Wednesday when they got to the point just north of Meigs along State Route 3, the lead engine went off the track.

"The cause of it was storm water piled up mud at a dirt crossing, and when the train hit the mud, it derailed," said Kevin Chambers of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

When the train left the tracks, the rail broke and punctured the lead engine's fuel tank.  1,100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into a nearby ditch. 

The railway company notified Georgia's Environmental Protection Division. "They were able to plug the leak.  No waterways were impacted, the diesel fuel stayed on the railway property," said Chambers.

Fortunately the dirt around the spill created a natural curb preventing the fuel from spreading.  The EPD says there's no cause for concern for people living in the area.

"Certainly nothing long lasting.  You don't want to leave diesel fuel laying there in the dirt, but once its cleaned up, and it sounds like they're doing it the right way, it's not a problem," said Chambers.

The Railway's private environmental cleanup company, SWS was on site to clean up the spill Thursday.  EPD says they will continue to monitor the operation.

Railroad workers and the environmental clean up crew spent most of the day repairing the tracks and cleaning the site.  The train is owned by the Omnitrax Company of Denver Colorado. Company reps say that rail is up and running again. 

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