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New Norfolk Southern train accident in NC

Police car lights (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 27, 2023

A Norfolk Southern train came off the tracks in North Carolina over the weekend, less than a month after a derailment by the same company triggered ongoing fears of contamination in Ohio.

The company said that two front wheels on one of 132 cars on a freight train came off the tracks in Lexington, North Carolina on Saturday, but the car stayed upright, WFMY reported. Officials reported no hazmat situation, injuries to crew, or other danger to the public.

“While this was technically a single-car derailment, it was only one set of the car’s trucks. The car itself is upright and not completely off the tracks. We are making repairs and setting the wheels back on the track and sending the train on its way,” a Norfolk Southern spokesperson said, according to WITN.

The cause of the incident was not immediately clear. 

Amtrak tweeted on Saturday that two of its regional Piedmont trains, trains 74 and 75, were delayed “due to a disabled freight train blocking the tracks.”

The latest Norfolk Southern mishap comes weeks after a large derailment and subsequent chemical release near East Palestine, Ohio. Dozens of Norfolk Southern cars derailed there on Feb. 3, and days later, chemicals in several cars were deliberately burned in a huge smoke plume, triggering fears of air and water contamination.

Since then, other train derailments have made headlines: a train carrying hazardous materials went off the tracks in Michigan, hazmat responded to the derailment of dozens of cars in Nebraska, and there have been at least two other derailments in Splendora, Texas and Enoree, South Carolina.

Derailments are the most common type of train accident and occurred an average of 1,705 times a year between 1990 and 2021, according to federal data.

In the past 10 years, about 10 to 20 train derailments a year have involved the release of hazardous materials, Allan Zarembski, director of the Railway Engineering and Safety Program at University of Delaware, told the Poynter Institute.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.