Local Train Enthusiast Reacts to East Palestine Wreck

Posted on March 20, 2023 by


Damage from the spill taken by NBC News

A train headed from Illinois to Pennsylvania derailed and crashed in East Palestine, Ohio. However, this wasn’t just an ordinary derailment because the train was carrying toxic chemicals.

These chemicals were called vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, and isobutylene. These chemicals were ultimately released into the air, and people have reported feeling sick. Norfolk Southern, the railroad company, at first took very little responsibility for the derailment. After outrage from nearby residents, they are now cooperating with the investigation.

“I do think Norfolk Southern should be blamed for this derailment, as the train had issues from the start, with the crew reporting strange sounds from one of the cars,” Fleetwood Area High school student and train enthusiast Gregory Werley said.

Werly spends much of his free time learning about trains and has a very extensive knowledge of the situation

“It occurred due to a hotbox, which is when an axle bearing overheats, catching fire and eventually making the railcar lose its axle, causing it to derail. A defect detector nearby even reported this occurring, which should make the crew want to stop and solve the problem, but it didn’t stop in time,” Werley said.

Now that the chemicals have been released into the air, locals have reported feeling sick and said that their pets were sick too. 

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Trains have had malfunctions plenty of times before, most notably, the Lac Megantic.

“The Lac Megantic derailed in Canada, where it was stopped on a hill, and the train did not have enough hand brakes applied to hold the train on the hill for the night,” Werley said. 

The main difference between the two derailments is that the East Palestine derailment released chemicals into the air. 

The cleanup has begun, but the damage has been done, and now the residents will wait and hope they hear good news about the air and water.

Posted in: Jeffrey Brown