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National Transportation Safety Board Investigates Norfolk Southern Derailments

Close up of train derailment

Ever since the disastrous derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train in Ohio in February, the railroad operator’s safety record has made headlines. In May, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced it would investigate the derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train in Pennsylvania.

The latest derailment occurred near New Castle in Pennsylvania, about 20 miles away from the site of a derailment in East Palestine, Ohio on Feb. 3. The Norfolk Southern derailment in February involved a freight train carrying poisonous vinyl chloride and other chemicals which caught fire and sparked an evacuation.

Norfolk Southern reported the derailment of nine cars near New Castle in May. Crews cleaned up the site and no injuries or hazardous material spills were reported, according to Reuters.

The derailment is just the latest to occur to a Norfolk Southern train. In March, federal investigators launched a probe into the derailment in Ohio and subsequent accidents involving Norfolk Southern. Months after the East Palestine accident, some residents are yet to return to their homes and contamination fears linger, PBS reported

The spate of accidents includes the death of a train conductor when a train and a dump truck collided in Ohio in March. The 46-year-old worker was struck when he was standing at the side of the track.

The National Transportation Safety Board had added the Pennsylvania accident to its ongoing investigation. The safety board announced it has opened a special investigation into the railroad, its culture, and its safety practices. The NTSB urged Norfolk Southern to “take immediate action today to review and assess its safety practices.”

The investigation coincides with a probe by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) which announced a 60-day supplemental safety assessment of Norfolk Southern in March.

Reuters reported Norfolk CEO AIan Shaw pledged to “rebuild our safety culture from the ground up.” He pledged to spend more money on safety and described the derailments as unacceptable.

The recent derailments raise serious questions about the safety of Norfolk Southern freight trains. As railroad worker accident lawyers, we are concerned that railroad employees and others are being placed at risk.

A report into the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in Alabama in March revealed two locomotives lacked required alignment controls. A company inspection failed to pick up on the absence of this vital equipment, AP reported.

When railroad workers end up hurt on the job, they have rights under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). However, it is complicated and daunting to take on large railroads such as Norfolk Southern and CSX and we have to show fault on behalf of the companies. Our railroad accident lawyers have litigated numerous railroad worker cases and have expert investigators on your side. Please call us for a free consultation at (757) 333-3333.

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