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Another Derailment Highlights Danger of Transporting Crude by Train

Latest incident took place near Pittsburgh, may have leaked up to 4,000 gallons of Canadian tar sands crude

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

A train carrying crude oil and propane derailed Thursday morning in western Pennsylvania and leaked thousands of gallons of oil, the latest in a series of derailments that have highlighted the dangers of transporting oil by rail.

The Norfolk Southern Corp. train was on its way from Chicago to Paulsboro, N.J. when it went off the tracks near Vandergrift, roughly 35 miles from Pittsburgh. Twenty-one of its 120 cars derailed and one of the cars hit a metal processing building, but no one was injured.

Of the 21 cars that derailed, 19 were carrying crude oil and two were carrying propane.

Four of the derailed cars spilled between 3,000 and 4,000 gallons of oil.

According to, the oil is from the Canadian tar sands. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that "Norfolk Southern spokesman Dave Pidgeon said 19 of the derailed cars were carrying a type of crude oil that is thick enough to be lifted with a shovel."

"We have a small leak coming from one car. It's contained. There's a storm drain near it, but it's not into the storm drain," Westmoreland County spokesman Dan Stevens said. "The hazmat crews for the railroad are on site and will be taking care of that situation."


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