Officials: Derailed train cars pose no risk to public


Five train cars remain on their sides near the railroad bridge on Curve Road in Delaware Township following a train derailment in January.

Norfolk Southern and the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management reported that no hazardous materials were contained in the train cars that derailed on the afternoon of Jan. 25. Authorities at the time reported that no fire or EMS units were dispatched to the scene, though deputies from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office were requested to reroute traffic.

Scott Stewart, interim director of the Delaware County EMA, said Thursday the agency immediately checked if hazardous chemicals were involved when the local train derailment was reported.

“Norfolk Southern called and reported the incident to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office dispatch. Dispatchers confirmed with them that the cars were all empty,” Stewart said. “Once made aware of the incident, (then-Director Sean Miller) immediately contacted Norfolk Southern to verify that there were no hazardous materials involved. Norfolk Southern confirmed that there were no injuries and no spill of hazardous materials from the derailment.”

More than a month after the crash, five train cars, including one tanker, remain at the scene.

Stewart said there is “extensive, physical disturbance” in the area of the derailment, but there are no environmental impacts from the release of hazardous materials since the cars were empty.

In a statement issued to The Gazette on Wednesday, Norfolk Southern said it is in the process of removing the cars.

“Two of the cars are currently inaccessible across a creek, and three additional cars are located on private property,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, we can’t access those cars until the property owner’s attorney’s allow us that access. Once we have the necessary permission, Norfolk Southern can continue the work to fully remove the scrap. We appreciate the public’s patience while we work through these issues.”

The derailment occurred more than a week before a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 3.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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