Norfolk Southern train derails in Pennsylvania, no hazardous materials spilled

Norfolk Southern Corp. said their crews immediately responded to the scene of a train derailment in New Castle, Pennsylvania late Wednesday night

Nine railcars from a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in western Pennsylvania late Wednesday night with no injuries reported, the police department and company officials said.

No hazardous materials were involved in the incident, which happened shortly after 11 p.m. in New Castle, Pennsylvania — located about 50 miles northwest of Pittsburgh near the Pennsylvania-Ohio state line. 

The New Castle Fire Department said that at least some of the cars that derailed contained paraffin wax, which is used to make candles.

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The Lawrence County Department of Public Safety said Norfolk Southern crews and first responders were at the scene working to clear the area early Thursday morning. 

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A Norfolk Southern train

A Norfolk Southern train passes during a rail safety event with US Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, not pictured, in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, April 12, 2023. (Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"We have noticed many comments reporting a white powder spilling into the water and ‘strange smells’ in the area. The only product that escaped one of the cars was soy beans. The only ‘hazardous material’ car that derailed is carrying paraffin wax," the department said. 

Paraffin wax is commonly used to make candles. 

"At this time there is no threat to the public, no issues with drinking water and no need for evacuations or sheltering," authorities said.

Norfolk Southern Corp. issued a statement on the derailment.

"At 11:57 p.m. Wednesday evening, nine cars derailed outside of New Castle, PA. There were no hazardous materials involved, and no injuries have been reported. Our crews responded immediately and are actively working at the site," the company said. 

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The derailment comes amid heightened attention to rail safety nationwide after a fiery derailment in February of Norfolk Southern railcars in East Palestine, Ohio. Half of the town’s 5,000 residents were evacuated as emergency responders burned off chemicals to prevent an uncontrolled explosion.

In March, the U.S. filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern over environmental damage.

The company has pledged to pay for the cleanup, and in a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Tuesday, CEO Alan Shaw assured it would continue to clean up the site "until the job is done." 

He wrote to senators that Norfolk Southern has paid more than $15 million directly to affected residents, compensated first responder agencies and supported local businesses. 

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East Palestine fiery derailment aerial view

This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed Feb. 3, in East Palestine, Ohio, are still on fire on Feb. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File / AP Newsroom)

Furthermore, Shaw said it announced total accrued charges for the derailment of nearly $400 million, which does not include anticipated costs for funds relating to declining property values, long-term health care or water treatment. 

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"It is also critical to recognize that Norfolk Southern is undertaking these efforts and expenses without any judicial or investigatory finding of fault. In fact, the NTSB has yet to determine a cause of the derailment," Shaw said. "There is a likelihood that other parties will bear some responsibility for the February 3 derailment, but the judicial and investigatory processes move at a measured pace. Making it right the right way means respecting the legal process while taking care of the immediate needs of all affected."

Fox Business' Julia Musto and the Associated Press contributed to this report.