Rail traffic has resumed through a small town 40 miles north of Columbia where a train hauling 96 rail cars full of new BMW automobiles jumped track Sunday afternoon.
No injuries were reported in that derailment, which occurred near the town of Blair in Fairfield County, local public safety officials said.
About 120 BMW automobiles were damaged in the incident, company officials said, when 12 of the rail cars containing 10 vehicles each in the 96-unit caravan left the train tracks. Heavy equipment was brought in to right and remove the overturned train cars and repair the damaged track, Norfolk Southern officials said.
Some rail traffic through the wreck area near the Newberry County-Fairfield County line had been diverted before normal flow was restored late Monday, the officials said.
Led by two locomotives, the train was carrying 120 new BMW X-model cars from the automaker’s Upstate manufacturing facility in Spartanburg to the Port of Charleston.
The cause of the derailment remained under investigation Wednesday, Norfolk Southern Railway officials said.
BMW representatives, who went to the scene to inspect the damage, also said Wednesday their assessments had been completed and the company would have no further comment on the derailment.
No known previous derailments had occurred in the area at Blair where Sunday’s mishap took place, according to Susan Terpay, Norfolk Southern Corp. communications director in Norfolk, Va.
“We will continue to work with Norfolk Southern in this situation to assess the damages,” said Sky Foster, BMW corporate communications department manager in Greer, where the German automobile manufacturer maintains its expansive North American production facility.
BMW, headquartered in Munich, Germany, builds seven X-series model vehicles that carry starting prices ranging from $33,000 to $84,000. The company was recruited to South Carolina in 1992. The company builds its X-3, X-5, X-6 and, in its most-recently-announced expansion, luxury X-7 series models at the Upstate plant.
The company ships its vehicles by road and rail to the Charleston port, where they automobiles are sent around the globe.
The Greer plant has become BMWs largest production facility in the world.
Roddie Burris: 803-771-8398