Another train operated by embattled railroad company Norfolk Southern has derailed, this time in Alabama.
The train derailed just hours before the CEO of Norfolk Southern testified this week before Congress about his railway’s apparent difficulty staying on the tracks.
According to the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency, over 30 cars headed west from Atlanta derailed at approximately 6:45 a.m. on Thursday.
The incident occurred in Iron City near the White Plains area.
“There was no injuries, no fire, and no road blockages” due to the train derailment, Calhoun County EMA director Myles Chamblee said.
“Fortunately, there were no hazardous materials with this, and we were able to work with Norfolk Southern, the county sheriff’s office, the Quad Cites fire department, the Oxford fire department, and were able to respond effectively,” Chamblee added.
Fire departments left the scene at 2:30 p.m., leaving Norfolk Southern personnel to continue with cleanup efforts.
Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Falon Hurst noted that railway traffic will be disrupted for some time, reported the Anniston Star.
“It’s torn the tracks all up,” said Hurst.
While rail traffic may be backed up, White Plains is reportedly not facing an ecological disaster like East Palestine, Ohio.
In East Palestine, a Norfolk Southern train carrying 141 loaded cars derailed.
The train wreck and resulting explosion ultimately released toxic chemicals into the air and surrounding streams.
Norfolk Southern spokesman Connor Spielmaker told reporters that none of the 37 cars that derailed in White Plains contained hazardous materials.
However, two are designated “residue hazardous material cars” because they recently carried hazardous materials.
“They did not breach,” said Spielmaker.
“There is no hazardous material leak.
“There is no risk at all to the public.”
🚨#BREAKING: A Norfolk Southern train has derailed as this is the company's third such incident since early Feb⁰
📌#Calhoun | #Alabama
Officials are reporting about approximately 30 Norfolk Southern cars have derailed off its tracks this morning. Fire officials saying there is… https://t.co/BFC8GyFSu3 pic.twitter.com/Nf4PmDaWK5
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) March 9, 2023
Shortly after this latest derailment, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw testified to Congress.
During his testimony, Shaw said his railway has spent a great deal of money in recent years.
Yet, Norfolk Southern has greased politicians’ hands to the tune of nearly $100 million since 1990.
According to Open Secrets, Norfolk Southern spent $1.8 million lobbying last year and $1.6 million the year before.
Since 1998, the rail company has spent over $79 million on lobbying efforts.
Norfolk Southern has also made $16,948,996 in political contributions.
That money has made its way to both sides of the aisle.
The company favored Democratic congressional candidates 55.27% to 44.72%.
But the company doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to persons of all political persuasions who may one day be called to hold it accountable.
Despite its previous investment, Shaw was raked over the coals by members of both parties.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said, “The company followed the Wall Street business model: Boost profits by cutting costs at all costs.
“The consequences for places like East Palestine be damned.”
Brown pointed out that the railway had cut its workforce back by 38% over the past 10 years while spending $3.4 billion on stock buybacks, reported the New York Post.
“That’s money that could have gone to hiring inspectors, to putting more hotbox detectors along its rail lines, to having more workers available to repair cars and repair tracks,” added Brown.
Republican Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) lambasted the railway firm.
“This is an industry that enjoys special subsidies that almost no industry enjoys,” said Vance, who was one of the first lawmakers on the scene in East Palestine.
“This is an industry that enjoys special legal carve-outs that almost no industry enjoys.”
“Now they’re claiming before the Senate and the House that our reasonable regulation is somehow a violation of the free market,” added Vance.
“Well, pot, meet the kettle, because that doesn’t make an ounce of sense.
“You cannot claim special government privileges, you cannot ask the government to bail you out, and then resist basic public safety.
Shaw claimed he was “deeply sorry … for the impact this derailment had on the residents of East Palestine and the surrounding communities.”
“I am determined to make this right,” said Shaw.
“Norfolk Southern will clean the site safely, thoroughly, and with urgency.
“You have my personal commitment.
“Norfolk Southern will get the job done and help East Palestine thrive.”
Shaw noted that Norfolk Southern had pledged $21 million in assistance to East Palestine alone.
In the small Ohio town, 1.1 million gallons of water and 15,000 pounds of soil were contaminated.
During the incident, a trench warfare gas once used as a weapon of mass slaughter was released overhead.
“I want to begin today by expressing how deeply sorry I am for the impact this derailment has had on the residents of East Palestine and the surrounding communities…I am determined to make this right," Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw testifies. https://t.co/kwrZOqrsFQ pic.twitter.com/na6d5Ns6AT
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) March 9, 2023
Norfolk Southern Railroad just celebrated “double-digit percentage growth in revenue and … record revenue and operating income,” noting in its end-of-year financial report that it had raked in $12.7 billion in 2022, up 14% over the previous year.
The railway managed this despite reportedly accounting for over half the hazmat damages involving rail transportation in the U.S. last year.
The New York Times reported that the rate of accidents on the company’s railway has increased in each of the last four years.
Norfolk Southern recently saw major derailments on March 4 in Springfield, Ohio, and February 16 in Van Buren Township outside Detroit, Michigan.
Witness video shows the moment a cargo train starts to derail in Springfield, Ohio. Still unknown what the train was carrying pic.twitter.com/Sxsr6XhmAp
— BNO News Live (@BNODesk) March 4, 2023
READ MORE: East Palestine Residents Give Grim Update after Toxic Train Wreck: ‘We’re Dying Slowly’