Crews worked to contain a fuel leak and keep it from entering Talona Creek in north Pickens County on the afternoon of Dec. 20 after the train derailed slightly the night before.

Derailed train spills 1,000 gallons of fuel near Talona Creek

A train that derailed near the Pickens/Gilmer line last week didn’t look as dramatic as a pile of overturned train cars — the train remained upright and only one locomotive left the track.

Still, the partial derailment did damage. A fuel tank was punctured and 1,000 gallons of diesel leaked onto the ground.

The spill occurred on Whitestone Road at approximately 7:40 p.m on Dec. 19 at a section of track near Talona Creek, just north of the Imerys rock crushing plant. Emergency crews immediately began work to contain the leak and keep fuel from entering the waterway.

Rains that lasted through the night and into the next day concerned officials, who said it would make containment more challenging.

Capt. Kris Stancil of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office was on the scene 10 minutes after the call came in and fuel had already reached the edge of the creek. Pickens Fire & Rescue and Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services Hazmat teams were called in Tuesday evening to assist.

Wednesday afternoon, Pickens Fire & EMS Director Sloan Elrod said the Environmental Protection Division inspected Talona Creek earlier that day and determined fuel had not seeped into the waterway.

No one was injured, and the spill occurred in an area where there are no businesses or residences, so evacuations were not needed.

Ultimately, Georgia Northeastern Railroad is responsible for the cleanup, “but we are here to assist,” Elrod said.

Details regarding the cause of the derailment are currently being investigated by Georgia Northeastern.

Times Courier

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