The 150-car CSX train was traveling from Peach Creek, West Virginia to an export facility in Newport News, Virginia, when 24 cars left the tracks between Howardsville and Scottsville in southern Albemarle County, railroad officials told local media.
There were no injuries. Two people were on board the train: the locomotive engineer and a conductor.
CSX spokesman Gary Sease said 12 of the cars, carrying a total 1320t, completely overturned in the incident. A dozen others derailed but remained standing.
He added Thursday night that clean-up and repair efforts could take days.
In the meantime, an investigation was underway to determine cause.
“We’ll be sifting through everything as we do the clean-up and talking to the operators of the train,” Sease said.
“But it can take some time.”