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NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Lower Saucon Train Derailment

As reported in this article by Saucon Voice, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released their first report on the incident.

 

ntsb-preliminary-report-released

Per the report, on March 2, 2024, about 7:11 AM local time, multiple collisions involving Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) trains occurred in Lower Saucon Township, resulting in minor injuries to crew members and substantial damage to equipment and track infrastructure.

 

The first collision, which took place around 7:11 a.m. local time, involved an eastbound NS intermodal train, designated as train 268H429, colliding with a stationary NS intermodal train, known as train 24XH101, on the same track.

 

This initial impact caused the derailment of several railcars from train 268H429, obstructing adjacent main track 1. Less than a minute later, a second collision occurred when a westbound NS mixed freight train, identified as train 19GH501, collided with the derailed equipment while traveling on main track 1.

 

Fortunately, while three tank cars carrying hazardous materials were involved in the derailment, they did not breach or release any hazardous substances. However, two locomotives from train 19GH501 partially submerged in the nearby Lehigh River, resulting in the discharge of locomotive diesel fuel into the water. Seven crew members were transported to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries and were subsequently released.

 

Preliminary estimates by NS indicate damages to equipment and track to be approximately $2.5 million. At the time of the collisions, visibility conditions were described as daylight with overcast skies, and the weather was reported to be 35°F with light rain.

 

The trains involved in the incident were identified as follows:

 

  • Train 24XH101: Originated from Atlanta, Georgia, and was bound for Croxton, New Jersey. It consisted of three lead locomotives and 27 intermodal railcars.

  • Train 268H429: Departed from Landers, Illinois, and was headed to Elizabeth, New Jersey. It was composed of two lead locomotives and 39 intermodal railcars.

  • Train 19GH501: Traveling from Croxton, New Jersey, to Enola, Pennsylvania, this train included two lead locomotives, one distributed power unit, and 199 mixed freight railcars.

 

Investigations into the incident are ongoing, led by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Focus areas for the investigation include examining NS rules, procedures, and crew training related to train handling.

 

Parties involved in the investigation include the Federal Railroad Administration, NS, as well as relevant worker unions such as the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers.

 

The incident highlights the importance of rigorous safety protocols in railroad operations and the potential risks associated with train collisions, particularly in adverse weather conditions. Further updates on the investigation will be provided as they become available.

 

The report can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

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