Norfolk Southern discovered free wheels on a sequence of rail vehicles concerned in final week’s derailment close to Springfield, Ohio, the corporate has introduced, the newest security drawback to emerge as scrutiny intensifies on the operator – and US freight security broadly – following that wreck, a poisonous derailment 5 weeks in the past in one other Ohio city and a derailment Thursday in Alabama.

In probing the Springfield wreck scene Sunday, the corporate “decided {that a} particular mannequin and sequence of rail vehicles had free wheels, which might trigger a derailment,” officers mentioned Thursday in an announcement, calling it an “pressing railcar security problem.”

Norfolk Southern additionally discovered instances of “uncommon wheel motion” on different vehicles it runs in the identical “lately acquired” sequence – which different rail operators additionally use – the corporate mentioned in an announcement that didn’t identify the producer.

Consequently, the Affiliation of American Railroads issued an advisory to halt using these vehicles till they are often inspected for the wheel units in query. It instructs railroad corporations to examine and take away wheel units “mounted by Nationwide Metal Automotive” between August of 2022 and March of 2023 as a result of “these wheels units are at an elevated danger of an out of gage derailment,” states the advisory, which the commerce group despatched to CNN.

Nationwide Metal Automotive didn’t instantly reply to CNN’s requests for remark.

Norfolk Southern has taken steps to take away this mannequin and sequence from service till they are often absolutely inspected, it mentioned.

“The investigation into the reason for the accident remains to be underway,” the corporate mentioned.

Norfolk Southern this week introduced a six-point security plan, together with a revamp of its system that detects overheated wheel bearings, and its CEO was grilled Thursday by a key US Senate panel about well being and security considerations following the February 3 derailment and poisonous spill in East Palestine.

Within the meantime, a bipartisan group of senators has proposed a brand new invoice aimed toward shoring up rail security. With out endorsing all provisions of the Railway Security Act of 2023, CEO Alan Shaw instructed senators that Norfolk Southern is “dedicated to the legislative intent to make rail safer.”

After the free wheels had been found throughout cleanup of the March 4 derailment in Springfield, Norfolk Southern knowledgeable the Nationwide Transportation Security Board and the Federal Railroad Administration, and “started inspecting different vehicles from this sequence on our community,” its assertion learn.

“We additionally notified the producer and labored urgently to tell the remainder of the railroad business, as Norfolk Southern isn’t the one person of those vehicles,” it mentioned.

Nothing spilled from vehicles that derailed on Saturday, and there was no environmental hurt, authorities mentioned, although the wreck knocked out energy quickly close by.

Whereas Shaw testified on Thursday, crews responded to the Alabama derailment some 90 miles east of Birmingham. No waste or leak resulted after the derailment of 37 vehicles, largely carrying combined freight, Norfolk Southern spokesperson Connor Spielmaker mentioned, including two of the vehicles beforehand had hauled hazardous materials.

The NTSB responded to the scene, he mentioned.

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