Even as Norfolk Southern’s CEO prepared on Thursday to testify to Congress over last month’s disastrous derailment in Ohio, another of its trains derailed in Alabama.
The company reported that about 30 empty rail cars crashed as the train was traveling from Atlanta to Mississippi.
In a statement, the company said, “Norfolk Southern is responding to a derailment in Piedmont, Alabama. There are no reports of injuries and no reports of a hazardous materials release. We are working in close coordination with local officials.”
Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade confirmed there were no injuries or property damage resulting from the accident. He also said there was no discharge of hazardous materials.
The train derailed around 6:45 a.m. in the Quad Cities area of White Plains. Authorities said it was not clear what caused the derailment.
BREAKING: Norfolk Southern train derails in Alabama. This is the THIRD Norfolk Southern derailment in about a month.pic.twitter.com/0kCTJpxssO
— LeGate (@williamlegate) March 9, 2023
Connor Spielmaker, a spokesman for the railroad, reported that the train was mainly mixed freight. Two of the derailed cars had previously transported hazardous materials, most likely a water treatment solution.
Those two cars, however, were empty when the train derailed. The Alabama accident marked the third derailment of the company’s trains in the past month. Last weekend, 28 cars derailed in Springfield, Ohio.
Speilmaker told reporters that the company was investigating to find out “how we can become even safer.”
The derailment occurred almost simultaneously with the testimony of Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw, who appeared before the Senate Thursday to testify over recent accidents. Those include the East Palestine disaster which released tons of toxic chemicals into the region.
The cleanup at the Ohio site continues as officials attempt to assess the total damage from the chemical spill. It was decided to execute a controlled burn of the chemicals, which of course released them into the air and surrounding area.
Residents were initially evacuated but then told they could safely return home.
However, there have been numerous reports of ill effects such as trouble breathing, headaches, rashes, and damaged voices. Tens of thousands of animals reportedly died within a five-mile radius.
Exacerbating the issue was the federal government’s excruciatingly slow response to the crisis. At Thursday’s hearing, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) noted that the people of East Palestine “are a little out of style. They have the wrong politics…maybe a little too White.”