Train carrying corn syrup derails in Arizona
A train carrying corn syrup derailed in Arizona on Monday night, freight railway company BNSF Railway confirmed to CBS News. The derailment occurred around 7:40 p.m. near Topock, Arizona, and the state’s northwestern border with California.
About eight cars derailed and the cause is being investigated, Lena Kent, BNSF’s general director of public affairs, told CBS News in a statement.
No injuries occurred and there are no hazardous materials involved, according to a preliminary report. It is unclear if the corn syrup spilled from the train. The derailment blocked the main railway track and authorities do not know when the track will be open again.
Three Arizona towns – Topock, Golden Shores and Franconia – were under a tornado warning until 5:45 p.m. yesterday, according to National Weather Service. It is unclear if the weather is related to the incident.
CBS News has reached out to the Mohave Sheriff’s Department for more information and is awaiting response.
This is the latest in a string of railway incidents making headlines. But while large derailments – like the massive incident in East Palestine, Ohio in February – have gained widespread attention this year, derailments are not uncommon.
There were 1,154 derailments reported in 2022, according to data from the Federal Railroad Administration. That’s an average of more than three a day.
But these incidents are down from previous decades. In 2018, there were 1,375 derailments – a steep decrease from the 8,744 derailments reported in 1978.
Still, the Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine was much larger and more catastrophic than most – 38 rail cars derailed, with 11 carrying hazardous materials. The incident made a large impact on the environment, forcing hundreds in the area to evacuate over concerns of chemicals like vinyl chloride.
An estimated 43,700 animals were killed and many were concerned about the presence of gases in the air after a controlled burn to get rid of the chemicals that spilled out of the train.
Norfolk Sothern said 15,000 pounds of soil and 1.1 million gallons of water have been removed from the area because of contamination.
Advocates, including Erin Brockovich, have demanded answers from Norfolk Southern, and this week, the state sued the rail company to ensure it will pay for the cleanup and the environmental damage.
Another Norfolk Southern train derailment in Ohio and one in Alabama have also further tarnished the reputation of the company. However, derailments are not unique to Norfolk Southern – a freight train run by CSX derailed in West Virginia earlier this month, as did a Union Pacific train in Kansas.