Coal train derails in northern Hardin Co.

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Tons spilled behind residences when rail cars leave tracks

By Sarah Bennett

Crystal Eaddy stared in disbelief Thursday at the coal spilling onto a hillside in her backyard from a railway car flipped on its side.


If it were not for the heavy tree line at the top of the hill, Eaddy said it’s possible the derailed train car could have crashed through her house at 131 Red Hawk Drive. She and her family moved there less than a month ago.

“That is extremely scary,” Eaddy said.

Fifteen cars and two locomotives derailed around 2:12 a.m. Thursday near the border of Radcliff and Vine Grove, officials said. Five of those cars overturned, dumping several tons of coal onto an embankment immediately behind houses on Red Hawk Drive.

Eaddy recalled hearing a loud noise just after 2 a.m. but did not realize until midday Thursday that a train left the tracks behind her home.

“I hear the train all the time,” she said. “I grew up around here, so I’m used to it. You can hear it throughout town.”

The Paducah & Louisville Railway train consisted of 88 cars loaded with coal. It was traveling north from Madisonville to Louisville, according to a news release from P&L.

Bonnie Hackbarth, spokeswoman for P&L, said each car carried 115 tons of coal. Although P&L does not know how much coal was dumped, she said the overturned cars were not emptied.

No injuries were reported and the cause of derailment is under investigation, according to the release.

Doug Finlay, director of Hardin County Emergency Management, said no hazardous material was spilled and the derailment was not near a waterway.

Despite a short-term closure at Red Hill Road, no further road blocks are anticipated, he said.

Clean-up crews were on scene Thursday morning. The railway is expected to reopen in two to three days, according to P&L.

Because of the derailment, some buses leaving from J.T. Alton Middle School and North Hardin High School were rerouted, said John Wright, spokesman for Hardin County Schools, which may have caused some students to experience minimal delays returning home.

As she stood in her yard and continued to stare at wreckage behind her home, Eaddy said her three children likely wouldn’t play outside when they returned home from school Thursday.

“Seeing that is going to scare them,” she said.

Sarah Bennettcan be reached at 270-505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.