CSX Nashville-Memphis Line Flooded Out for Weeks

CSX Nashville-Memphis Line Flooded Out for Weeks

Last weekend killer storms that flooded out Nashville and other parts of Tennessee and killed at least 30 people in several states will also keep a CSX Transportation line between Nashville and Memphis closed for up to six weeks.

CSX issued an advisory to customers May 7 saying two bridges on that line “have been heavily damaged and will take four to six weeks to repair. CSXT is re-routing shipments over other railroads to minimize impact to customers.”

Company spokesman Gary Sease said CSX usually averages about 10 trains a day on that 200-mile route. Memphis is also one of its key western gateways, where it connects with other major North American railroads.

Rival Norfolk Southern also had to briefly close a 150-mile line week between Memphis and Sheffield, Ala., near Muscle Shoals because of flood damage, and warned customers on May 4 to expect delays of at least 48 hours. It got service restored the next day but said the line would operate at slow speeds for a while.

President Obama declared Tennessee a major disaster area from the effect of severe rainstorms, straight-line high winds and tornadoes that began April 30 and continued over several days. The Cumberland River rose at Nashville and flooded many business and residential areas. Some may take weeks to clean up while others face longer-term damages. The disaster declaration triggers the release of various types of federal aid.

CSX said its operations inside Nashville had been restored by May 4, but a line running south to the nearby town of Spring Hill was closed the past week and expected to reopen on May 8.

For customers along that Memphis-Nashville line, CSX plans to reroute shipments southwest to Memphis, to connect with other carriers. It said service on the route will be restored in phases.

-- Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.