Norfolk Southern Train Derails, Spilling Diesel Fuel and Sending Two to Hospital


Another Norfolk Southern train has derailed, this time outside of Jasper, Alabama.

WABM reported that the derailment took place late Saturday night and involved 11 cars as well as the locomotive hauling them.

The locomotive rolled over onto its side, trapping two of the train’s crew briefly and spilling engine oil and diesel.

Local police said “no hazardous materials [were] involved in the derailment” in a post to Facebook early Sunday morning.

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“Jasper Police were notified of a train derailment earlier tonight in the area of 1350 Old Russelville Road,” the statement posted to Facebook said. “According to Norfolk Southern, the train crew was briefly trapped in the engine room because the engine tilted over. There were no major injuries, but RPS was called to the scene to evaluate the crew and transported two crew members as a precaution.”

“Per Norfolk Southern personnel, there were no hazardous materials involved in the derailment or released into the area. Jasper Fire called all personnel in to assist the crew in getting out of the train and managing the scene, along with Jasper Police. Norfolk Southern and Walker County EMA are remaining on the scene to return the track to service.”

In a statement to WABM, Norfolk Southern said the two trapped crew members were treated and released from a local hospital.

“Last night, 11 cars and the lead locomotive derailed from a train traveling through Jasper, Alabama. There are no reports of a hazmat situation or danger to the public,” the statement said. “Our two crew members were transported to the hospital and have since been released.

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“During the derailment, the locomotive rolled onto its side and as a result spilled some diesel fuel and engine oil. Norfolk Southern crews have responded and have been working through the night on cleanup. We’d also like to thank the first responders who quickly arrived on-scene and took care of our crew.”

The outlet asked Norfolk Southern whether derailments were increasing and received a non-answer in response.

“The safety of our employees and the communities in which we operate is our number one priority,” a company spokesperson told WABM Sunday. “We diligently monitor our trains and infrastructure to identify potential hazards, and we invest approximately a billion annually into maintaining our infrastructure every year.”

The company did say that it had seen fewer derailments in 2022 than it had in any other year in the previous 10 years, but had no comment on the numerous derailments that have occurred so far this year.

Witnesses described a loud “booming sound” and multiple emergency vehicles responding to the accident.

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“There was just like a big booming sound, and I was like ‘oh probably just the woodyard across the street no big deal’, but he just did not wanna go outside anymore,” said resident Jamie Plyler, referring to her dog, whom she was walking when she heard the derailment happen.

“He was like, ‘Nah, I’m coming back in,'” she said.

“So, we go up here, we look over there and we just see heaps of metal and completely bent and broken, fire trucks, police officers,” Levi Glazier, a teenager who went with his family to investigate the source of the loud noise. “They’re everywhere.”

Both Plyler and Glazier said that, living as close to the tracks as they do, hazardous spills from train accidents are a constant concern.

“I’m always thinking about that. I always have that in the back of my head,” Glazier told WAMB.

“I’m just concerned like if any chemicals or anything bad got tilted out,” Plyler added.

The cause of the derailment, which WAMB said was the third in central Alabama in the past 30 days to involve a Norfolk Southern train, was still under investigation.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
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Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics