Hazmat train derails outside Philadelphia
A CSX freight train loaded with hazardous materials derailed in Pennsylvania’s Whitemarsh Township on Monday morning, local officials confirmed in a statement.
About 16 cars of the 40-car train derailed near the 7,500-person town of Plymouth Meeting, prompting a level two hazmat response, according to local media. Silicone pellets were reported to be leaking from at least one train car, though local police denied there was any risk to the public. None of the other cars – including 15 carrying hazardous materials – had reportedly disgorged their cargo.
The train derailed on a stretch of tracks owned by Norfolk Southern, the company at the center of the East Palestine environmental disaster in neighboring Ohio earlier this year.
Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County PA - CSX train derailment around 5am this morning. 40 cars long. Near Joshua Rd. and Stenton. 5am this morning. pic.twitter.com/ApH0qnqZRA— Chris Stigall (@ChrisStigall) July 17, 2023
While homes and businesses near the scene were evacuated “as a precaution,” the officials said it was “not believed that further evacuations will be needed.” No injuries were reported and the evacuation order has since been lifted.
While images of the derailment appeared to show a bent and twisted section of rail, CSX told local media the crash was “weather-related.” The US Department of Transportation has sent officials from the Federal Railroad Administration to gather information on the derailment.
Multiple high-profile train derailments involving hazardous cargo this year have spurred states – including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota and Kansas – to adopt or at least consider long-overdue rail safety legislation.
The derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio gained international attention after the initial damage was compounded by the decision to burn off the vinyl chloride in some of the derailed cars. The resulting fire, which could be seen from space, is believed to have contaminated the area with dioxins – some of the most toxic chemicals known to man – and residents blame it for the lingering effects on their own health and that of local wildlife.