Norfolk Southern railway Thursday informed the National Transportation Safety Board it identified the likely cause of recent derailments of its trains.
“During Norfolk Southern’s cleanup of the derailment in Springfield, Ohio on March 5, the company determined that a specific model and series of railcars had loose wheels, which could cause a derailment,” a company representative said in a statement. “The investigative team identified these wheels as coming from a series of recently acquired cars from a specific manufacturer.”
The railroad added that it immediately notified the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration and began inspecting other cars from this series used on its trains.
Industry trade group Association of American Railroads issued clarification about the manufacturer after it published an advisory to all U.S. railroads.
“This advisory is issued to inspect and remove from service wheel sets that were mounted by National Steel Car (NSC-T) in the date range between 08-22 and 03-23 inclusive,” the AAR explained, adding, “These wheel sets are at an increased risk of an out of gage derailment.”
“This is an uncommon defect to see in a wheelset that demanded urgent action,” AAR spokeswoman Jessica Kahanek told trade publication Trains that “This is a voluntary, proactive step aimed at ensuring equipment health and integrity,” she adds
The advisory affects about 625 cars manufactured by National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Kahanek added.
“Upon identifying additional cases of unusual wheel movement, we acted swiftly,” continued a Norfolk Southern representative in the statement. “We issued orders to remove these cars from service until their wheelsets could be replaced, and we have taken steps to remove this specific model and series from service until they can be fully inspected.”
The company explained it notified the manufacturer and worked urgently to inform the rest of the railroad industry because Norfolk Southern is not the only railroad that uses that type of car.
In addition to February derailments in East Palestine, Ohio, and Van Buren township, Michigan, Norfolk Southern experienced a March 9 derailment in Piedmont, Alabama, according to a report from The Epoch Times.