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Crude, LPG Train Derails in Western Pennsylvania

Twenty-one cars of a 118-car crude-by-rail train owned by Norfolk-Southern Corp. (NS) derailed on Thursday near Vandergrift, PA, with up to 4,000 gallons of oil said to be leaking from four cars. NS officials were on the scene and responding, a spokesman said.

Hazardous materials crews had contained the spill, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). 

Nineteen of the cars that derailed were carrying heavy crude and two were carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), reportedly propane, officials said. No injuries were reported.

The Norfolk Southern Railway Co. train was headed east from outside Pittsburgh to the Philadelphia area when it derailed near the Kiskiminetas River at an MSI Corp. facility that fabricates metal products. The building was evacuated. No fires were reported.

Some of the crude apparently was destined for an asphalt plant in New Jersey owned by NuStar Energy LP, a Vandergrift official told NGI's Shale Daily. MSI declined to comment.

The NS rail unit operates close to 20,000 miles of rail in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

DEP spokesman John Poister told NGI’s Shale Daily there appeared to be only one major crude leak. Two of the cars leaked a "few gallons.”

The spill appeared to pose no threat to any nearby waterways, but as a precaution DEP notified water authorities downstream. The agency also sent a three-person response team.

Poister said DEP does not track rail accidents in the state and he was unaware of any similar incidents.

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