PITTSBURGH - Seven train cars derailed near Station Square Sunday afternoon. Here’s a timeline of the derailment and the ongoing cleanup efforts:
1:13 p.m. Sunday
The Norfolk Southern freight train transporting shipping containers derailed, blocking Port Authority of Allegheny County light rail tracks.
1:21 p.m. Sunday
The Port Authority tweeted that inbound and outbound light rail service was suspended.
2:52 p.m. Sunday
Norfolk Southern confirmed no hazardous materials were involved in the derailment and that no injuries were reported. The westbound train, which was traveling from North Jersey to Chicago, consisted of three locomotives and 57 loaded intermodal rail cars.
6:15 p.m. Sunday
Norfolk Southern confirmed a total of seven train cars derailed and estimated they would be cleared from the tracks within about 72 hours. The shipping containers being transported contained mostly consumer goods
9:16 p.m. Sunday
The city of Pittsburgh said bottles of Listerine, which were not hazardous, spilled in the derailment, creating a strong odor.
In addition, the city said West Carson Street will remain closed for the duration of the removal operation.
7:55 a.m. Monday
Issues with the safe removal of freight cars prompted the Port Authority to again suspend service at South Hills Junction.
8:40 a.m. Monday
Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said cleanup of the train derailment is a very unstable situation and asked that pedestrians stay away from the area. He also said machinery being used in the cleanup efforts Monday morning struck a wire, which sparked. No one was hurt.
Hissrich said there are three plans on the table as crews determine how to clear the derailed train cars.
Officials are making their decisions based on which of the three plans is the least risky to remove each car. The plans are as follows:
- Lifting the cars over trees and positioning them in the parking lot.
- Lifting the cars and positioning them on the roadway.
- Controlling the descent of the cars onto the road. However, utilities like gas, water and electricity could pose problems.
2:15 p.m. Monday
The Port Authority reopens the light rail tracks that run through the city's Allentown neighborhood after closing them in the morning.
6 p.m. Monday
Norfolk Southern said they have cleared all but two rail cars and about a dozen containers from the track.
The railroad company said they hope to clear the remaining cars and resume train operations over the next 24 to 36 hours.
8:30 a.m. Tuesday
Norfolk Southern said three sets of double-stack containers (six containers total) were removed overnight Monday into Tuesday. The rail cars that carried them were also removed.
As of Tuesday morning, three more sets of double-stack containers and the rail cars they are positioned on need to be cleared from the mainline track.
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