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Train carriages scattered along riverbank after Pennsylvania crash

Containment booms were deployed after diesel fuel spilled into the river.

Trains derailed in Saucon Township (Nancy Run Fire Company via AP)
Train Derailment Pennsylvania Trains derailed in Saucon Township (Nancy Run Fire Company via AP) (AP)

Three trains have been involved in a collision and derailment in eastern Pennsylvania that left carriages scattered along a riverbank.

Officials in Northampton County said the derailment was reported at about 7.15am on Saturday in Lower Saucon Township along the Lehigh River.

The township’s police chief, Thomas Barndt, said emergency personnel found “multiple trains derailed” but no reported injuries. No hazardous materials were involved and no evacuations were ordered.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said preliminary information indicates an eastbound Norfolk Southern train struck another Norfolk Southern train that had stopped on the same track.

Authorities said it was unclear how many carriages were involved but no injuries or hazardous materials were reported. (Nancy Run Fire Company via AP)
Train Derailment Pennsylvania Authorities said it was unclear how many carriages were involved but no injuries or hazardous materials were reported. (Nancy Run Fire Company via AP) (AP)

Wreckage spilled on to an adjacent track and was struck by a westbound Norfolk Southern train, the NTSB said.

Authorities said the collision led to the derailment of an unknown number of carriages but there were no reported injuries or release of hazardous materials.

A team “comprised of experts in train operations, signals and train control, mechanical systems, and human performance” was expected to arrive later in the day.

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

Mr Barndt said containment booms were deployed after diesel fuel spilled into the river. Norfolk Southern called it a small diesel fuel leak “common when locomotives are involved” that was contained with the booms and would be “vacuumed out”.

Norfolk Southern also said plastic pellets spilled from one carriage, predominantly on to the ground, and that would also be cleaned up. The company praised “the quick, professional response by local emergency agencies”.

Gary Weiland, who lives across the river in Bethlehem Township, told The (Allentown) Morning Call he initially heard what sounded like a crash, then a period of quiet followed by the sound of another crash.

“As the second one was happening, I went upstairs and looked out the window and saw a splash. I said to my wife, ‘I think a train derailed.’” Mr Weiland said.