Train derailment leaves cars on riverbank or in water; no injuries, hazardous materials reported

Authorities say a train derailment in eastern Pennsylvania has left some railroad cars along a riverbank Saturday morning and at least one partially in the river itself.

Dispatchers in Northampton County said the derailment was reported at 7:14 a.m. in Lower Saucon Township. Northampton County Executive, Lamont McClure said three cars derailed.

"We dodged a bullet here," McClure stated. "We’re just extremely lucky, but there were three trains involved in the incident and it could have been much worse." 

The Nancy Run Fire Company posted pictures showing a number of railroad cars scattered along the riverbank and at least one partially in the water.


Taken by the Nancy Run Fire Company, a Norfolk Southern train is shown derailed near Bethlehem, Pa. 

McClure went on, "We’re very grateful that there are no injuries. No reported injuries. No one had to be evacuated. There is no danger to the general public. We really want to make that clear – there’s no danger to the general public."

Norfolk Southern said in a statement there was no threat to the public, no injuries to crew members and "no hazardous material concerns from the railcars."

Norfolk Southern said a small diesel fuel leak — which the company said was "common when locomotives are involved" — had been contained with booms and would be "vacuumed out." Plastic pellets spilled from one car, predominantly onto the ground, and that would also be cleaned up, the company said.

Norfolk Southern praised "the quick, professional response by local emergency agencies."

McClure said most of the cars were empty. He added that normally, the train cars would usually be carrying dangerous material. "Butane and ethanol, two things that are obviously very highly flammable and could have been devastating had they been there and there was a leak."

Officials say they’ve been monitoring the air and say everything is normal, but they’ll keep testing to make sure everything is okay.

There was no immediate word on the derailment's cause.

Norfolk Southern is the same company involved in the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio back in February 2023. That’s where 38 cars went off the tracks and spilled hazardous materials.


50-car train derailment causes massive fire, evacuations in Ohio

About 50 cars derailed in East Palestine as a train was carrying a variety of freight from Madison, Illinois, to Conway, Pennsylvania.

Right after East Palestine, Northampton County required mandatory training, just in case something like that ever happened here.

"We had three trainings with respect to train derailment and you can see here, today, in Northampton County, our agencies and our municipalities in Lower Saucon really shone well," McClure stated.

The cleanup efforts will continue for the next couple weeks. Local officials say they will be on hand to monitor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.