Norfolk Southern trains derail in PA, spill diesel fuel and plastic pellets

  • Officials report there were no injuries or evacuations
  • A team responding to the scene is containing the small diesel fuel leak
  • The township's police chief says no hazardous materials were involved

(NewsNation) — Authorities say three Norfolk Southern trains were involved in a “collision and derailment” along the banks of a major eastern Pennsylvania river Saturday.

One of the train’s long line of cargo cars appeared to be carrying freight and other materials but there were no reported injuries or evacuations.

Northampton County officials say the derailment was reported at around 7:15 a.m. in eastern Pennsylvania along the Lehigh River.

The township’s police chief, Thomas Barndt, said arriving emergency personnel found “multiple trains derailed,” but no reported injuries. No hazardous materials were involved, he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board says they are investigating the incident.

“Preliminary information indicates that an eastbound NS train struck a stopped NS train on the same track,” NTSB spokesperson Sarah Taylor Sulick said in a statement. “The wreckage from the striking train spilled onto an adjacent track and was struck by a westbound NS train. The collision led to the derailment of an unknown number of cars.”

Among the materials spilled in the derailment were diesel fuel and plastic pellets, Norfolk Southern and local authorities said.

According to reports, members of responding crews on the scene have contained the diesel fuel with barriers and are vacuuming it out of the river.

The polypropylene plastic pellets, which a Norfolk Southern spokesperson said spilled out of a single train car during the derailment, are also being cleaned up. They say the pellets landed “predominantly onto the ground.”

A team “comprised of experts in train operations, signals and train control, mechanical systems, and human performance” was expected to arrive later in the day, the NTSB statement said.


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