Brown says only luck prevented disaster in Springfield train derailment

Sen. Vance also pushes bipartisan legislation in light of Norfolk Southern’s recent Ohio crashes.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown today called for action to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for its train accidents in Ohio and called attention to the Springfield derailment last weekend.

“On Saturday evening, just a month after the company’s disaster in East Palestine, another Norfolk Southern train derailed in Springfield, Ohio,” Brown, said at a Senate hearing in response to Norfolk Southern problems.

The cars that derailed were not carrying hazardous materials, but other cars on the train were, Brown said.

“The only thing that saved Ohioans from another disaster was luck,” he said. “We need a little more than that.”

Brown, a Democrat, said he and Sen. JD Vance, a Republican, have worked together to introduce a bipartisan Railway Safety Act, which he said would make trains safer.

“Sen. Vance and I come from different parties, but on this we’ve come together for the people of our state. I appreciate his work with us on this,” Brown said.

In the Springfield derailment, 28 cars of a 212-car Norfolk Southern freight train that stretched 2.55 miles overturned near the Clark County Fairgrounds on State Route 41, closing the road for four days.

Brown testified at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing about the response to the Norfolk Southern derailment. Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw also testified.

Said Brown: “If Norfolk Southern had paid a little more attention to safety and a little less attention to its profits — had cared a little more about the Ohioans along its tracks, and a little less about its executives and shareholders — these accidents would not have been as bad, or might not have happened at all.”

Vance also testified and rejected claims from some that “our reasonable legislation is somehow a violation of the free market.”

“Well pot, meet the kettle, because that doesn’t make an ounce of sense,” Vance said. “You cannot claim special government privileges, you cannot ask the government to bail you out, and then resist basic public safety.“

He added: “I believe that we are the party of working people, but it’s time to be the party of working people. We have a choice. Are we for big business and big government or are we for the people of East Palestine? It’s a time for choosing. Let’s make the right one.”

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