Ten new Volkswagen Passats wrecked after rail car derails in Chattanooga

Ten new Volkswagen Passats wrecked after rail car derails in Chattanooga

January 24th, 2012 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Train cars await the loading of new Passats at the Chattanooga Volkswagen manufacturing plant at the Enterprise South Industrial Park in this file photo.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Norfolk Southern's Debutts Rail Yard in Chattanooga

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Ten new Chattanooga-made Volkswagen Passats were damaged Saturday when the Norfolk Southern rail car in which they were being carried derailed and fell on its side.

The accident occurred about 1 p.m. Saturday at the railroad company's DeButts Yard in Chattanooga, said Susan Terpay, a Norfolk Southern spokeswoman

Railroad workers were building a train and another slow-moving outbound train hit the rail car carrying the new autos, she said.

The cause is under investigation, Terpay said. Equipment was brought in to pick up and right the rail car, and the damaged Passats were returned to Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant at Enterprise South industrial park.

"We are also waiting for more information," said Carsten Krebs, director of corporate communications for Volkswagen of America.

According to VW, a rail car can handle about 14 Passats.

VW is shipping 85 percent of all Passats it makes in Chattanooga to dealers via rail. In transit, cars receive protective coverings.

VW's shipping yard can handle 60 rail cars hauling 840 vehicles. The site has space to add more tracks and handle over 1,000 cars a day, officials have said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.