Another derailment in Ohio for Norfolk Southern

Image: Derailment in Springfield. © Xaviaer DuRousseauXaviaer DuRousseau

A freight train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed near Springfield, Ohio, in the United States on Saturday 4 March. This is the company’s second derailment in Ohio within a month. This time, fortunately, no signs of chemical spills were found, according to authorities.

The derailment occurred on Saturday afternoon (local time) and involved 20 of the 212 wagons making up the convoy headed to Birmingham, Alabama. According to Springfield Township Fire Chief Dave Mangle, two of the derailed tankers contained residual amounts of diesel exhaust fluid, two contained polyacrylamide water solution, and four were carrying non-hazardous materials.

Residents around the derailment area were told to stay inside their homes out of caution, and the order was lifted on Sunday morning. The causes for the derailment are not known as of yet. A Norfolk Southern spokesperson was quoted by CNN as saying that the company has already commenced cleanup procedures. The company is now therefore busy clearing two accident scenes in the same state.

In the video below, it is possible to see the moment that the train derailed recorded from a dash cam of a car.

Two derailments in one month for Norfolk Southern

This is the second derailment involving a Norfolk Southern freight train in Ohio in a month. On the evening of Friday 3 February, 38 out of a 150-wagon convoy derailed near East Palestine, damaging 12 additional wagons. Out of the 50 wagons that were involved, 11 were carrying hazardous goods, some of which leaked into the city river and storm drains. The vinyl chloride contained in five containers was resealed and burned by the competent authorities, sparking fears of long-term side effects on the population. The derailment in East Palestine was caused by a wheelset being too hot, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Image: Train derailment in East Palestine, OH. © Nina Turner

A second freight train derailment in Ohio within a month is putting rail safety legislation high on the agenda in Congress. CEO Alan Shaw will testify to a Senate committee on Thursday, and democrats and republicans alike will have questions to ask. “The big railroads have weakened safety rules or resisted safety rules for years,” Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

US politicians have been quite vocal concerning the need for new reforms. Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg called for immediate steps to improve safety and accountability on the railroads. The phasing-in of safer tank cars, paid sick leave for railroad workers, better crew size regulations, and a higher cap on fines for rail safety regulations are Buttigieg’s priorities. However, members of the Republican Party do not seem so keen in quickly implementing new regulations due to a lack of information on the accident in East Palestine.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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