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Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway

Ohio officials issue urgent order following hazmat train derailment

NTSB Member Michael Graham provided an update on the NS train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
Photo – NTSB/Twitter


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Columbiana County officials last night issued an urgent warning and evacuation order for residents remaining within a 1-mile radius of a Norfolk Southern Railway train derailment that occurred Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio, near the Ohio-Pennsylvania state border.

The derailment prompted a massive fire, which continues to burn. Last night, a "drastic" temperature change occurred in a rail car, creating the potential for a "catastrophic tanker failure that could cause an explosion with the potential for deadly shrapnel traveling up to a mile," DeWine said in a prepared statement.

Fifty rail cars of the 141-car train derailed. Twenty hazardous material rail cars were in the train consist, 10 of which derailed. Five of the derailed hazmat cars were carrying vinyl chloride.

Yesterday evening, DeWine called the Ohio National Guard to the scene to assist local authorities. Although an evacuation order was issued shortly after the derailment, about 500 residents declined to leave their homes after the initial evacuation order.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and NS are monitoring air quality. The National Transportation Safety Board is the lead agency providing updates on the incident.

NS team members are on the scene. The company has established a family assistance center to help those directly affected by the derailment. NS also is supporting the efforts of the American Red Cross and its temporary community shelters through a $25,000 donation, NS officials said in a press release.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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