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16 Mar, 2023 13:48

Industrial train derails in Arizona

The locomotive in Arizona was originally reported to be carrying hazardous materials, but it turned out to be corn syrup
Industrial train derails in Arizona

A train derailed in northern Arizona late on Wednesday, according to local authorities. It’s the latest in a series of railway accidents in the US recently.

The incident occurred at the Topock Bridge near Interstate 40, close to the borders of California and Nevada, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Thursday. The cause of the accident is still being investigated, and there were no casualties reported.

Anita Mortenson, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, originally said the cargo on board the train may be hazardous, but added that it had not spilled. BNSF Railway spokesperson Lena Kent told CNN on Thursday, however, that it was "a train carrying corn syrup" rather than hazardous materials. She also clarified that an estimated eight cars went off the tracks and were currently blocking the main railway. An investigation is ongoing.

It’s the latest in a series of serious railway accidents in the US, including a coal train in Nebraska and a Michigan freight train carrying agricultural products, which both derailed in February. Another train crashed in West Virginia last week, spilling diesel into a local river.

The most damaging derailment, one of the country’s worst, occurred near the Ohio town of East Palestine on February 3. A total of 38 freight cars came off the tracks and burst into flames. The fire burned for days, releasing toxic hydrogen chloride and phosgene into the atmosphere, as well as contaminating the soil. US experts are still debating the possible long-term effects of the chemical spill on the local population.

Last week, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced a "special investigation" into Norfolk Southern Railway, whose trains have suffered three derailments since December 2021, including the East Palestine accident. The company’s CEO Alan Shaw vowed to "rebuild their safety culture" from the ground up.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called for stricter security rules for freight railways in a Bloomberg interview on Monday. He said he was "encouraged" by the bipartisan push in Congress following the Ohio disaster.