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Norfolk Southern trains collide, causing derailments in Pennsylvania

Officials said Saturday the trains derailed just before 8 a.m. in Lower Saucon Township, located about two hours from Philadelphia.
Norfolk Southern train derails onto banks of Pennsylvania river
Posted at 2:14 PM, Mar 02, 2024

Officials said at least three Norfolk Southern trains were involved in collisions that caused them to derail in a dramatic scene along the banks of a major Pennsylvania river on Saturday. Train cars seen in images released by first responders appeared to be carrying freight and other materials.

After officials and emergency crews assessed the scene, it was determined that no hazardous substances had spilled into the river, according to reports — and no evacuations were ordered. 

Further information on the exact damage caused was not immediately released, but authorities said there were no injuries. 

The Nancy Run Fire Company released images on social media confirming a rescue engine had been sent to the scene at Riverside Dr. in Lower Saucon, and that multiple cars were derailed. 

The area of the crash is situated north of Philadelphia, just under two hours by car. 

At least some of the train cars had toppled over into the moving water of the Lehigh River. Images appeared to show at least two locomotive cars partially in the river. 

The Lower Saucon Fire Rescue department worked with the Northhampton County Emergency Management Service to help local and state agencies recover sections of the train and assess damage. 

Authorities didn't immediately release an exact cause for the derailment but said at least three trains were involved in what what was described as a collision and derailment, the Associated Press reported.  

Norfolk Southern told Scripps News the company appreciates "the quick, professional response by local emergency agencies," and said, "crews and contractors are on-scene and assessing with first responders," to create a clean up plan. 

The derailment was reported at about 7:45 a.m. before first responders arrived to find multiple trains derailed. The National Transportation Safety Board reported an eastbound Norfolk Southern train collided with another Norfolk Southern train that had stopped on the same track. Wreckage that fell onto another track from that collision was hit by a westbound Norfolk Southern train, the NTSB confirmed to the Associated Press. 

A resident of the area, Gary Weiland, told the The Morning Call he heard a large crash, then a moment of silence and then another crash. 

"As the second one was happening, I went upstairs and looked out the window and saw a splash. I said to my wife, 'I think a train derailed,'" he said.

The incident comes just one year after Norfolk Southern's disastrous train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, where hazardous material caught fire in that crash. The resulting plume of black smoke it caused and reports of negative health effects on residents became national news as people in the area were displaced.

SEE MORE: Derailed: East Palestine, 1 year later

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