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200 tons of coal spilled in train derailment

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Updated: 8/12/2013 11:54 pm
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. -- Passers-by are calling the scene of the train derailment in Fernandina Beach a disaster zone. Water was leaking out of the pipeline, spikes lifting up from the train tracks and overturned track where the cars toppled over.

The short-line railroad doesn't get a lot of action, but is now the most eye-catching landmark in Fernandina Beach after a CSX train derailed Sunday evening.

"I'm a conductor for Amtrak. We were riding by, and she saw it and wanted to look at it," said David Lee.

Lee couldn't help but notice the heaping pile of coal that spilled out of the tipped-over cars, and he wasn't the only one in awe.

"We take pictures of trains and we thought about getting pictures of this railroad, and then we just ran into this," said passerby Henry Dell.

Action News did some digging, made countless calls and found out the rail line, owned by First Coast Railroads Incorporated, allows CSX trains to run regular trips from Fernandina to Yulee.

We spoke to First Coast's parent company, Genesee & Wyoming, on the phone. An official says this is the first time a derailment has happened at this spot, and that the tracks are inspected weekly.

We were told 200 tons of coal spilled, but can be recovered. We also learned the coal was headed to a paper and mill company in Fernandina called RockTenn. We tried to speak to them, but were told to leave their property, saying they couldn't tell us the extent of the damage.

Still, bystanders say it looks worse than it is. 

"A mess! They're gonna be here awhile," said Lee.

Action News has learned that the cars will be rerailed by Monday night and the line should be operational by Tuesday.
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