Freight Train Derails, Deisel and Plastic Pellet Carts Fall Into River

A derailment involving three Norfolk Southern trains near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania spilled some diesel fuel and plastic pellets along the Lehigh River on Saturday morning, the company and local authorities said.

Another Train Derails Near River

Officials in Northampton County said the derailment was reported at about 7:15 a.m. in Lower Saucon Township along the Lehigh River.

The incident sent cars careening off the tracks and onto the banks of the Lehigh River with some ending up partially in the water.

The township’s police chief, Thomas Barndt, said arriving emergency personnel found “multiple trains derailed” but no reported injuries.

Police say that there were no reported injuries to the crews on the trains.

The National Transportation Safety Board said preliminary information indicates an eastbound Norfolk Southern train struck another Norfolk Southern train that had stopped on the same track.

Wreckage from the striking train spilled onto an adjacent track and was struck by a westbound Norfolk Southern train, the NTSB said in an email to The Associated Press.

Officials confirm there was a diesel fuel spill into the Lehigh River from the accident, and a spill of polypropylene plastic pellets from one of the derailed cars. Containment booms were deployed.

Lower Saucon Fire Rescue said on Facebook that there were no hazardous material risks to the community and no evacuations.

According to police, there currently are no evacuations or hazardous material threats to the community.

Gary Weiland, who lives across the river in Bethlehem Township, told The (Allentown) Morning Call he initially heard what sounded like a crash, then a period of quiet followed by the sound of another crash.

“As the second one was happening, I went upstairs and looked out the window and saw a splash. I said to my wife, ‘I think a train derailed.'” he said.

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