Norfolk Southern train derails in Pennsylvania

A Norfolk Southern train derailed Saturday in eastern Pennsylvania, resulting in a spill of diesel fuel and polypropylene plastic pellets.

The train had multiple cars derail near the Lehigh River, where much of the spill occurred. The Lower Saucon Township Police Department reported no injuries, evacuations, or hazardous material threats. Authorities were able to use a containment boom, an absorbent material, to begin to clean up the river.

“We appreciate the quick, professional response by local emergency agencies,” Norfolk Southern posted on X. “Our crews and contractors are on-scene and assessing with first responders. … Our crews and contractors will remain on-scene over the coming days to cleanup, and we appreciate the public’s patience while they work as quickly, thoroughly and as safely as possible. We are always working to advance safety.”

This is the sixth significant accident involving a Norfolk Southern train since 2021. The most recent incident came just over a year ago in East Palestine, Ohio, where 38 carriages fell off the tracks and resulted in evacuations of nearby residents.

Before Saturday’s incident, the National Transportation Safety Board had announced it was opening an investigation into the company’s safety protocol. Norfolk Southern claimed it began its own investigation into the latest incident. Because the cause of last February’s crash is slated to be announced in June, the cause of the most recent incident is expected to come much later.


The Railroad Safety Act, sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators, among them Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), came as a result of the incident in East Palestine and offers more authority to the Transportation Department in preventing future disasters.

The bill calls for a two-man crew requirement, even though that was not the problem that led to the East Palestine incident. It remains to be seen if the latest derailment was complicated by a one-man crew. The bill also raises the fine for a violation of rail safety laws from $100,000 to $10 million. Norfolk Southern claimed the East Palestine clean-up cost the company $1.1 billion.

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