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BREAKING: Train Derailment in Lower Saucon's Steel City This Morning

UPDATE (3/4/24): The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has provided an update to Lower Saucon Township officials, per a copy of the email received by Saucon Voice.


Per the email:

NTSB investigators arrived on scene Saturday afternoon to begin the on-site portion of the investigation of the collision and derailment of three Norfolk Southern trains near Easton, Pennsylvania. Today the team began reviewing data from the locomotive event recorders and downloaded data from the wayside signals. They also obtained downloads from the inward and outward facing image recorders on all three trains to send back to NTSB headquarters in Washington D.C. for further analysis. The team also mechanically examined the derailed cars and other train equipment. NTSB continues to collect evidence but has released the site to allow Norfolk Southern to move the rail cars and locomotives and for track repair work to begin.

The email concludes by stating that the team will be on site for several more days, conducting interviews with crew members and obtaining other information to assist in determining the cause of the accident.

The next official update will be the preliminary report in three weeks.


UPDATE (4:15 PM): Officials held a press conference in which Northampton County Lamont McClure stated, "We first want to emphasize that there is no danger to the general public from this train derailment at this time, and we do not expect there to be."

This incident in Lower Saucon again involves Norfolk Southern, which made headlines just over a year ago with a derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. During his comments, McClure also thanked Northampton County Emergency Management, who he said, "after East Palestine, conducted three trainings around train derailment. And we are very pleased that today, this derailment, was so quickly and expertly handed. I want to thank all of the local responders for that."

Lower Saucon Police Chief Thomas Barndt provided further details on the incident. Township emergency personnel were dispatched at 7:15 AM this morning and found multiple trains derailed upon arrives. Barndt stated, "there were no reported injuries to the crews of the train." However, he went on to mention that diesel fuel from the trains had spilled into the Lehigh River, along with polypropylene plastic pellets from one of the derailed train cars. "Containment booms have been deployed", Barndt added, in order to help contain the spill. As reported, the polypropylene plastic pellets are not hazardous or toxic.


At this point, clean-up and investigation of the incident has been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board and Norfolk Southern, who already have crews on-site and on the way.


The incident in Lower Saucon this morning has prompted national news coverage, perhaps in part due to the increasing number of train derailments in recent history.


In a statement to CNBC, Norfolk Southern expressed that, "Our crews and contractors will remain on-scene over the coming days to clean up, and we appreciate the public's patience while they work as quickly, thoroughly, and as safely as possible. We are always working to advance safety. We will investigate this incident to understand how it happened and prevent others like it."


According to Business Wire, Ohio-based Ancora Holdings Group, LLC, which owns a large equity stake in Norfolk Southern, issued a statement after the incident this morning calling on Norfolk Southern to immediately replace its current leadership. The statement reads, in part:


"We hope the crew and everyone in Lower Saucon Township are unharmed by yet another derailment of a Norfolk Southern train." "Following this latest derailment, we call for the immediate termination of CEO Alan Shaw and stand ready to engage with the Company about an orderly reconstitution of the Board and a transition to a capable management with a track record of actually delivering on safety commitments."


UPDATE (10:00 AM): Lower Saucon Township's Emergency Management Team will be providing an update around 11:00 AM this morning from Steel City Park. Please check the Township website for more information.


train-derails-lower-saucon

It is being reported that a locomotive train has derailed in the area of Riverside Drive in Lower Saucon’s Steel City. According to online reporting as well as eyewitness reports, the derailment happened earlier this morning and resulted in numerous train cars derailing and some even falling into the Lehigh River.

 

According to online reporting by Nancy Run Fire Company, Rescue Engine 1413 is on the scene “with a train derailment in the area of Riverside Drive in Lower Saucon. It is reported there are no injuries, with train cars into the river.”

 

Residents submitted the following images to Saucon Voice.

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train-derailment-2

Based on images of the incident, it appears that the derailed train was being operated by Norfolk Southern, more specifically, Engine NS 9891. No further details are currently available on what caused the derailment or what clean-up response will be necessary.


It is being reported online that Lehigh County Hazardous Materials is also on scene to assist, but no details are available on what the train was transporting.


Lower Saucon Police notified residents around 8:30 AM Saturday morning that Riverside Drive is Closed at Hillclimb due to a train derailment, asking all residents to stay out of the area.


train-derailment-nancy-run-1
Image courtesy of Nancy Run Fire Company Facebook Page

trail-derailment-nancy-run-2
Image courtesy of Nancy Run Fire Company Facebook Page

This is developing story. Check back for further updates.

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