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UPDATE 1-U.S. safety board investigating new Norfolk Southern derailment in Pennsylvania

(Adds details on incident in paragraph three, details on other safety reviews in paragraphs 4-9)

By David Shepardson

May 11 (Reuters) - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Thursday it is investigating the derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train near New Castle, Pennsylvania, the latest incident involving the railroad.

The Pennsylvania derailment Wednesday is about 20 miles from the site of a Feb. 3 East Palestine, Ohio Norfolk Southern-operated train incident that caused cars carrying toxic vinyl chloride and other hazardous chemicals to spill and catch fire.

Norfolk Southern said Thursday that on Wednesday night nine cars derailed and there were no reported injuries or hazardous material concerns. Norfolk Southern crews responded immediately and remain on-site cleaning up.


The U.S. Justice Department and state of Ohio have sued Norfolk Southern seeking to ensure that the railroad pays the full cost of cleanup and any long-term effects of the derailment in Ohio of one of its freight trains in early February.

That derailment and the subsequent fire that sent a cloud of smoke with billowing black plumes over the town of East Palestine

outraged the thousands of residents

who were forced to evacuate.

Since then some of East Palestine's 4,700 residents have reported ailments such as rashes and breathing difficulties, and some fear long-term health effects. They have pressed government officials to push for accountability.

Since December 2021, NTSB has launched investigations into at least six significant accidents involving Norfolk Southern, including the East Palestine incident. In March, the safety board said it was opening a special investigation into the railroad and its safety practices and culture and urged "the company to take immediate action today to review and assess its safety practices."

That special investigation was opened the same day a Norfolk Southern conductor in Cleveland

was killed

when a train was struck by a dump truck.

In early March, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said it would conduct a 60-day supplemental safety assessment of Norfolk Southern.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in March FRA would use information collected "to push Norfolk Southern to develop measures to mitigate risks while identifying appropriate enforcement actions" and will issue a public report. That report has not yet been released.

Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw vowed in March to "to rebuild our safety culture from the ground up. We are going to invest more in safety. This is not who we are, it is not acceptable, and it will not continue."

Norfolk Southern said Tuesday

it would establish a fund

to reimburse homeowners who live near the East Palestine derailment site who sell their homes for less than what the property was worth before the incident. (Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis)