Norfolk Southern Train Derails 20 Miles from Ohio Disaster Site

·2 min read
A black train engine with the Norfolk Southern logo (a horse running towards the letters N and S) on a train track in Columbus Ohio on a winter day.
A black train engine with the Norfolk Southern logo (a horse running towards the letters N and S) on a train track in Columbus Ohio on a winter day.

A Norfolk Southern train passes during a rail safety event with US Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, not pictured, in Columbus, Ohio, US, on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

A Norfolk Southern train derail in New Castle, Pennsylvania, late Wednesday night just 20 miles from the site of February’s East Palestine, Ohio, disaster.

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Nine train cars jumped the tracks, and while none carried hazardous material, I’m sure it did little to help the calm of the people living in the Ohio River valley. Police and Fire in New Castle told the Akron Beacon Journal that no injuries were reported though it did cause quite a mess, spilling soy beans and wax on the road and leaving cars trapped in traffic:

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According to the Lawrence County Department of Public Safety, the train was carrying soy beans and paraffin wax.

A statement from Norfolk Southern that the police department shared reads: “At 11:57 p.m. Wednesday evening, nine cars derailed outside of New Castle, PA. There were no hazardous materials involved, and no injuries have been reported. Our crews responded immediately and are actively working at the site.”

The public safety department for the county in which New Castle is located also quelled social media rumors related to the derailment.

“We have noticed many comments reporting a white powder spilling into the water and ‘strange smells’ in the area,” the department said. “The only product that escaped one of the cars was soy beans. The only ‘hazardous material’ car that derailed is carrying paraffin wax.”

Paraffin wax isn’t exactly dangerous, but it is a petroleum product and can carry carcinogens when burned, CNN reports.

America experiences an average of three train derailments per day, NPR reports, and most are as minor as this one in New Castle, but when things go wrong they can go extremely wrong. The East Palestine, Ohio, derailment on February 3 was definitely a worse case scenario; people in East Palestine were sickened when clean-up crews attempts to prevent the explosion of a car hauling the dangerous chemical vinyl chloride by lighting the releasing gas on fire. Chemicals contaminated the ground and water while government agencies at federal, state and local levels assured residents that their homes were safe.

The derailed train in East Palestine was on fire for miles after a supervisor told the crew on the derailed East Palestine train to ignore the wheel bearing problems suspected of causing the crash. This all happened after train companies ignored warnings from workers about precision scheduling — the process of running longer trains with less personal to increase profits — was making freight trains more dangerous and leading to more injuries among workers.

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