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ATDA responds to NS train collision

Northampton County, PA March 2, 2024– Earlier this morning, ATDA was notified by FRA that there was a NS 3 train collision/derailment.   The derailment occurred on Norfolk Southern’s Lehigh Line approximately 10 miles east of Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Initial reports indicate that eastbound train 268 struck the rear of train 24X which was stopped ahead.  This occurred while train 19G was operating westbound on the adjacent track.  19G appears to have struck the derailed equipment from the 268/24X collision, causing 19G to also derail.  The force of the collision resulted in multiple cars derailing and 19G’s locomotives coming to rest along the banks of the Lehigh River with at least one locomotive partially submerged. 

ATDA President Dowell said with frustration, “How many derailments will it take before Congress passes the Railway Safety Act sponsored by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown?  As I’ve said before, railroads accept derailments as the price of doing business. Something must change, this easily could have been catastrophic.”  At a railway safety rally in Los Angeles late last month, Dowell said, “For decades our government has allowed railroads to mostly regulate themselves.”

ATDA Vice President Denucci said, “While we are grateful that initial reports indicate that all crew members have been accounted for and that there have been no serious injuries, we are again reminded of the fact that Positive Train Control (PTC) and other technologies overly relied upon by railroads are not fail safe by any means.”  Had Class-1 Railroads fully adopted FRA’s C3RS Program as each of their CEOs pledged that they would, a prior “close call” report may have triggered a corrective action or rule change that may have prevented this accident from ever occurring.