HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. - A collision caused dozens of train cars and containers to go off the tracks in Hempfield.
A Norfolk Southern mixed-freight train heading west from Altoona to Conway collided with the back of a Norfolk Southern intermodal train – which caused the massive derailment, officials confirmed.
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According to Hempfield Township Manager Jason Winters, 11 cars and 50 shipping containers were off the tracks, but there were no hazmat issues or other risks to the public.
Officials said no injuries were reported, and no hazardous materials spilled from the derailed cars. The derailment blocked train traffic on both tracks.
Norfolk Southern personnel and contractors were installing 42-foot track panels to replace the damaged track.
According to Norfolk Southern, shipments were also delayed significantly because of this incident.
Shipments heading to the following cities were delayed at least 18-24 hours: Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, New York and New Jersey. Travel will be back to normal around midnight.
What caused the initial collision is still under investigation.
Officials with Norfolk Southern sent Channel 11 a statement on Saturday:
"Working through the night, Norfolk Southern personnel and contractors continue making progress today toward restoring train service following a mainline derailment Friday afternoon in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
The recovery effort includes using cranes, excavators, loaders, and other heavy equipment to clear the tracks of derailed rail cars and shipping containers. Eleven intermodal rail cars transporting 50 shipping containers derailed. Two locomotives also derailed but remained upright.
Norfolk Southern expects to restore service to the double mainline tracks late tonight, Saturday Nov. 9. Customers with traffic moving through this area should anticipate delays of 24 to 48 hours as the railroad works through a backlog of traffic.
The cause of the derailment remains under investigation."
By late Saturday night, the company said they were able to start running trains over one side of the rail lines. By early Sunday morning, both sides were back open and 25 trains had already passed through.
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