NEW CASTLE, PA (WKBN) – A Norfolk Southern train derailed in New Castle Wednesday night.
The New Castle Police Department and Fire Department, along with Lawrence County Emergency Management, responded to the scene near Montgomery Avenue and Lafayette Street at 11 p.m. The tracks are on a bridge over the Mahoning River, but no cars fell into the water.
Representatives from Norfolk Southern railroad company were also on the scene.
New Castle Fire Chief Michael Kobbe said no hazardous materials leaked from the nine train cars that derailed.
“When we got here, there was no fire, there was no sparking,” Kobbe said. “The cars had settled. We found nine cars derailed, total, and immediately noticed EMA, Department of Environmental Protection, Norfolk Southern, obviously.”
An official from Norfolk said there were no injuries. Kobbe confirmed that no hazardous chemicals leaked from the train cars and the derailed cars contained soybeans and paraffin wax.
New Castle resident Daniel Quad said he heard the response to the derailment.
“Basically, all I really heard was the ambulance noise, it woke me up,” he said.
Quad’s neighbor, Christina Funera slept right through it.
“At first, I was shocked but then it was like something that was going to happen because of all the others, I think. I don’t know. It’s just weird,” Funera said.
Kobbe said they’ve been training for this type of scenario.
“In light of recent events with the train derailments in our areas, we’ve actually taken courses to prepare ourselves for this kind of thing. We’ve always said, it’s not a matter of it it’s going to happen to our area– because we have a lot of rail lines–it’s a matter of when,” Kobbe said “In light of recent events with the train derailments in our areas, we’ve actually taken courses to prepare ourselves for this kind of thing. We’ve always said, it’s not a matter of it it’s going to happen to our area– because we have a lot of rail lines–it’s a matter of when,” Kobbe said. “With the materials that are transported through our county from Beaver County, from Allegheny County headed north to Erie County or even Buffalo, New York. We’ve always had the knowledge that materials were passing through our county. We’ve always had it on the burner, it’s just never happened to us, but we expected it to at some point”
“I think they are on top of it, and I think it’s good. Makes me feel comfortable,” Funera said.
As far as Norfolk Southern, Funeral has some concerns.
“What would they think is the reasons for all of them? I guess that would be the major question that I have,” she said.
As a result of the derailment, a train stoppage in Lowellville is blocking the downtown area as well as River Road near Struthers. Emergency vehicles are being routed through Struthers.
Officials said that it will take hours to get the cars moved. As of 3:20 p.m. Thursday, the railroad tracks are back open.
As a result of the derailment, The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that a portion of Route 18 between Mt. Jackson Road (Route 108) and Blanchard Street remains closed to traffic.
PennDOT released the following options for detours:
South of the closure
- From northbound Route 18, turn left onto Mt. Jackson Road (Route 108)
- Turn right onto westbound Route 317 (Edinburg Road)
- Bear right onto northbound Route 551
- Turn right onto Route 224 (West State Street)
- Follow Route 224 back to Route 18 (South Jefferson Street) in the City of New Castle
- End detour
North of the closure
- Follow Route 18 to Route 224 (West Falls Street)
- Take Route 224 westbound
- Turn left onto southbound Route 551 (Jackson Street)
- Turn left onto eastbound Route 317
- Turn left onto Mt. Jackson Road (Route 108)
- Follow Mt. Jackson Road back to Route 18
- End detour
This derailment comes just 96 days after Norfolk Southern’s train derailment in the village of East Palestine, Ohio. The company is still in the process of cleaning up that location.