Cleanup continues after CSX train derails on Jacksonville's Northside

8 rail cars, 2 carrying ethanol, go off tracks near Main Street & Busch Drive

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It could be days before a train derailment near the Anheuser-Busch plant on Jacksonville's Northside is cleared.

Hazardous materials and CSX crews have been cleaning up for hours after eight CSX rail cars derailed Sunday night. The train went off the tracks around 10 p.m. at Main Street North and Busch Drive, according to CSX.

Photos released by the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department show the rail cars turned on their sides. JFRD also shared drone video showing tank cars in the water.

A CSX spokesperson said no one was injured in the incident. But the cleanup could take several days, as two of the rail cars carrying ethanol derailed into Cedar Creek.

Although no evacuations were ordered for the area, a JFRD hazmat team was on standby as multiple CSX teams and contractors worked around the clock to get the accident cleared.

Divers on Monday went into the water to assess the two rail cars carrying ethanol, while another crew worked to siphon the ethanol out of the two rail cars before they can be retrieved from the creek. 

"When you are dealing with water, it's a lot more taxing on the firefighters," said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters. "It's a meticulous process, obviously, when you are moving tankers like that, and if they have any products still in the tank, they could tear and leak."

As of 4 p.m. Monday, according to CSX, four derailed boxcars carrying consumer and food-grade products had been safely removed from the area, but contractors continued to work to clear away two empty tank cars and the two cars carrying ethanol that derailed into the creek.

A couple hours later, the CSX spokeperson told News4Jax that crews were finishing offloading ethanol from one of the rail cars before pausing work for the night due to safety reasons.

The CSX spokesperson said there are no indications of any leaking product. But David Halsted, who lives a block away, expressed concern.

"It's worrisome that you see there are two and a half cars in the river, and it's deep enough where they are almost submerged," Halsted told News4Jax. "We just don't want our river getting messed up. A lot of my friends fish in this river. I fish in this river, and we just don't want to see a big oil spill here." 

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has closed southbound Main Street from Busch Drive to Baisden Road. Traffic in both directions will share the northbound lanes during the cleanup process. 

"While cleanup work may continue for the next few days, barring any unexpected delays, we expect it will be safe to reopen the southbound lanes of U.S. 17 by Tuesday morning," a CSX statement reads, in part. 

CSX had several derailments last year. News4Jax was able to find 11 in various states. Another train derailed in June 2016 about 2 miles from this area at North Main Street and Airport Center Drive. No one was injured in that incident, either.

The CSX spokesperson said Monday afternoon that the cause of Sunday's derailment remains under investigation. 

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist and Emmy Award winning anchor

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.