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Freight train derails in southeast Pennsylvania, but no known injuries or hazards

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July 17, 2023
By The Associated Press

Global OHS News rail safety

(Steve/Adobe Stock)

A freight train derailment in southeast Pennsylvania early Monday spurred precautionary evacuations, but officials said no injuries were reported and there was no known hazard to the public.

The 40-car CSX train, which was operating on tracks owned by Norfolk Southern, derailed around 4:50 a.m. in a wooded area Whitemarsh Township. CSX said at least 16 cars went off the tracks, but local officials later said 15 cars had derailed.

Twelve nearby homes were evacuated shortly after the derailment was reported “out of an abundance of caution,” Whitemarsh Township Police Chief Christopher Ward said. Those residents were allowed to return to their homes around 9:30 a.m.

Silicone pellets leaked from at least one train car, Whitemarsh police said, but they posed no risk to the public. Among the other derailed cars, five contained urea, a liquid fertilizer, and another had tetrachloroethylene, which is used as a dry cleaning agent and metal degreasing solvent. At least two other cars were empty.

The cause of the derailment was under investigation, but a CSX spokesperson said it may have been “weather related.”


Norfolk Southern — and the entire rail industry — has been under intense scrutiny since one of its trains derailed and caught fire in February in Ohio, creating towering black smoke, forcing evacuations and raising environmental worries.


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