Cleanup of toppled railroad cars from derailment in Butler County continues

Cleanup efforts at site might be complete this week.

The cleanup of rail cars left in fields over the winter after a November derailment in Wayne Twp. is ongoing, according to Norfolk Southern Railroad officials.

On Nov. 24, a 40-car train traveling from Cincinnati to Fort Wayne, Ind., jumped the tracks at U.S 127, toppling 12 cars. It shutdown U.S. 127 for hours to move the wreckage away or into fields away from the crossing, but there were no injuries and no hazardous materials leak.

The middle portion of a Norfolk Southern train derailed about 4:15 a.m., closing the busy crossing near Seven Mile and leaving nine cars on their sides. Three cars remained upright, but off the tracks.

ExploreInvestigation of Butler County train derailment continues, Route 127 back open at crash site

“I will never say we are fortunate with a derailment. We are always working to avoid that, and when it does happen it is an unfortunate event that we want to rectify as quickly as possible. Obviously, it is a better environment in a wide-open space,” said Jeff DeGraff, Norfolk Southern spokesman, a day after the incident.

Many of the derailed cars were empty grain carriers, and some were carrying scrap automobile parts.

Throughout the winter several cars remained on their sides along the crossing, which is surrounded by farmland.

Norfolk Southern contractors arrived at the site several weeks ago to begin scrapping and removal of the derailed cars, said Rachel McDonnell Bradshaw, railroad spokeswoman. Late last week were three remaining rail cars on site.

Bradshaw said they anticipate cleanup efforts will be complete by early this week, depending on weather and any unforeseen delays.

According to the report filed with the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, the derailment was caused by a fault in the track, specifically “shelling/head crack.”

Two cars on the train were carrying hazardous materials, but were not derailed, the report says. Damage is $644,730.

ExplorePHOTOS: Train derailment causes road closure in Butler County

The speed limit there is 25 mph, according to officials. At the time of the derailment, it was traveling 18 mph. The track speed for trains on the mainline is 60 mph.

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