East Palestine Has a History of Devastating Derailments

East Palestine Has a History of Devastating Derailments
  • East Palestine is recovering after a major train derailment in February.
  • The city has a history of train derailments, including one that left a man dead.
  • Nine derailments took place between 1946 and 1976.
  • All of the incidents happened on the line Norfolk Southern now owns.

(NewsReady.com) – It’s been more than a month since a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, causing a major chemical spill. Residents of the city are frightened about what the accident will mean for their health in the future. Some are already complaining about adverse side effects, such as skin rashes and headaches. Other families have decided to steer clear of the town for now.

While residents try to move forward, questions about what happened are on the minds of residents and public officials alike. It turns out the recent derailment isn’t the first one to happen in the city. In fact, there is a history of them that date back decades.

1970 Derailment

Some of the longtime residents of East Palestine remember the last time a serious train accident took place. It was 1970, and Pat Springer told the Business Journal Daily that she was a high school senior at the time. Her family lived at one end of the Brookdale Avenue Bridge.

Springer told reporters one morning, her family was sitting down for breakfast when a loud noise disrupted their meal. Her father went outside to see what happened and discovered the bridge was out. An image from that time shows mangled cars and a derailed train. The bridge reportedly fell on top of the train.

A married couple was on top of the bridge at the time of the accident and were just able to escape injury. Penn Central Railroad was operating the train that hit the bridge and caused the destruction. The company was supposed to repair the damage, but instead, it filed for bankruptcy, leaving the bridge in disarray for years. Axios reported the unrepaired bridge made it hard for emergency personnel to get to some areas of the town.

1973 Derailment

Three years later, a newspaper archive shows another incident occurred. According to the report, a “kink” left in the tracks after a minor accident caused an Amtrack train to derail. The engineer and his fireman actually saw the damaged track up ahead and hit the emergency brakes. However, they weren’t able to stop the accident.

The commuter train was carrying 167 people from New York to Chicago when five cars went off the tracks and crashed into buildings. Nineteen people suffered injuries; one man, George Wintoniak, died in the accident.

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