Twenty-one cars of the 118-car train derailed at around 8:30 Thursday morning, 19 of which were carrying oil and two of which were carrying liquefied petroleum gas, according to Norfolk Southern Corp., the train’s owner. Three of those cars spilled oil, but the leaks were plugged and the company did not say the how much oil spilled. The train was headed for Morrisville, Pennsylvania and derailed in the town of Vandergrift in western Pennsylvania.
The train crashed into a building, but employees that worked there were evacuated and all were accounted for and no injuries were reported.
“I was down in there and all of a sudden the building shook. It was a couple of guys running up, and said the train derailed in the back of the building,” one of the employees who works in the building, which houses the MSI corporation, told WPXI News.
The train is just the latest to cause a spill in recent months. Earlier this month in Minnesota, a train leaked 12,000 gallons of oil, which spilled along the train tracks for 68 miles. In November, an oil train derailed and exploded in Alabama, spilling oil and causing flames that shot 300 feet into the sky. And a North Dakota train derailment in December spilled 475,000 gallons of crude oil.
A recent analysis found that rail cars spilled more than 1.15 million gallons of oil in 2013, more than was spilled in the previous four decades combined. Still, some companies are looking to expand their oil-by-rail transport: expansion plans for oil-by-rail projects on the West Coast could mean that as many as 11 fully loaded oil trains would travel each day through Spokane, Washington. A Senate subcommittee was scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday on rail safety, but it had to be rescheduled due to bad weather that forced the closure of the federal government.