A view across the Lehigh River on March 3; photo by Gregory Morgan Photography

On Saturday, March 2, a train derailment involving three Norfolk Southern trains occurred in Lower Saucon Township. 

At 7:15 a.m. emergency personnel were dispatched just east of the village of Steel City for the train derailment, said Lower Saucon Police Chief Thomas Barndt during a news conference held later Saturday morning.  

Barndt stated emergency personnel reported no injuries to the crews involved in the derailment, however there were crew members that needed to be assisted to safety with ropes.  

Pa. DEP has determined the derailment caused around 50 gallons of diesel fuel to spill into the Lehigh River. Barndt said during the news conference that fuel containment booms [barriers] were deployed. 

Photo by Gregory Morgan Photography

Polypropylene plastic pellets were also spilled from one of the derailed cars. 

“The amount of pellets [spilled] was minimal,” said Barndt. 

“There is no danger to the general public from this train derailment,” said Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure during the news conference. 

McClure stated the derailment was “quickly and expertly handled” and he went on to thank the first responders, “who truly are the heroes in this scenario.” 

It was requested on Saturday that everyone avoid the area in order to allow first responders and Norfolk Southern to assess the situation. 

According to preliminary information from the National Transportation Safety Board, a stopped train on the eastbound track was struck by an oncoming Norfolk Southern train on the same track, causing wreckage to spill onto an adjacent track, which was subsequently struck by a westbound Norfolk Southern train. 

The train tracks are now repaired and operational, however trains passing through Lower Saucon are traveling at a reduced speed in order to allow the new tracks to settle. 


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