The derailed train event here in our small town was big news and could have been catastrophic. We were very lucky that no one was injured, and that the railroad took financial responsibility for those that were displaced from their homes. However; the real story here was not reported. The train had blocked all three crossings that our neighborhood has access and egress to for approximately four hours prior to the train moving again. It was after the restart of the train that the derailment occurred. Within three hours of the derailment egress was restored. Many neighbors could not go to work and wages were lost.
This practice of blocking access to our neighborhood has gone on for decades. Many years ago, one of my wife's family suffered a medical emergency while access was blocked. He lost his life. While I cannot put a price on lost life, there have been significant wages lost due to what I consider the railroads incompetence or lack of responsibility.
I fully believe the railroad has been using our location as an intermediate repair facility or a convenient way to overload trains out of the east and separate if they cannot pull the load up Christiansburg mountain. It is easy for railroad employees to drive to this location from Roanoke and I-81. This practice has happened with significantly less frequency since I gave everyone that would talk to me at the railroad my opinion several years ago.
There are three crossings we have access to. I think the only reason the railroad would block all three is through incompetence on disrespect. On Friday, I personally lost $176 in wages and could not live up to my responsibility to my employer. I am sure there were many other people who lost wages on Friday. Over the years we have all lost much more than that.