The CSX train crashed around 2 p.m. with 12 to 14 tanker cars, three or four of which were breached.
No injuries are reported at this time but residents are encouraged to stay away from the downtown area. Lynchburg police and emergency personnel are on the scene, and after assessing the situation, the fire department decided to let the fire burn out.
"The cause of the derailment has not been determined at this time," the city said in a statement. "CSX officials are working to remove the portion of the train that is blocking workers from leaving Griffin Pipe Foundry located in the lower basin."