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Norfolk Southern rolls out new safety train and website to educate first responders

Altoona, Pa. - Apr 22, 2016


In keeping with a strong tradition of safety, Norfolk Southern today rolled out a new educational train and website to help first responders across its network respond to potential rail-related incidents.

The train and website are part of Norfolk Southern’s Operation Awareness & Response (OAR) program. OAR was launched in 2015 to cultivate and strengthen relationships with local first responders by providing classroom, web-based, and field training on hazardous materials transportation, as well as information about rail operations.

The NS hazmat safety train is comprised of:

  • A 2,000-horsepower, 273-ton locomotive painted in honor of emergency responders with insignia recognizing police, fire, and emergency services
  • Two boxcars converted into classrooms, each capable of holding 30 people
  • Four styles of tank cars, including DOT-105, DOT-111, DOT-112, and DOT-117, to illustrate a variety of car valves and fittings
  • Two 89-foot flatcars designed to transport intermodal containers

"The NS hazmat safety train is like a rolling classroom, delivering hands-on training directly to emergency responders in communities along our rail lines,” said John Irwin, Norfolk Southern assistant vice president safety and environmental. “We are committed to moving these materials as safely and efficiently as possible, and building partnerships with emergency first responders across our network is a vital part of operating a safe rail network.”

Norfolk Southern also launched its new website today to provide the public with information about transporting hazardous materials and the economic benefits of moving hazardous materials by rail.

Following today’s kickoff, the NS hazmat safety train will travel to 14 states across the railroad’s network. Upcoming training sessions, which are by invitation, will include Harrisburg, Pa.; Baltimore; Chicago; Alexandria, Va.; and Columbia, S.C. The train’s schedule and contact information can be found at

Attending today’s kickoff were U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster; Richard Flinn Jr., director of Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency; John O’Neill, founder, president and CEO of the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation; Roger Wynkoop, vice president of Trinity Rail Group; and Frank Reiner, president of the Chlorine Institute and a member of TRANSCAER’s governing task group.

During the ceremony, Norfolk Southern announced that it won its 16th National TRANSCAER Achievement Award. The TRANSCAER award recognizes exceptional achievement in support of voluntary efforts by companies to help communities prepare for and safely respond to incidents involving transport of hazardous materials.

Last year, Norfolk Southern provided training for 4,792 emergency responders, government officials, members of the media, and others in 18 states. The training included classroom seminars, hands-on sessions with rolling stock, table-top simulations, full-scale drills, and exercises at training centers operated by NS and the Association of American Railroads. Norfolk Southern also was instrumental in developing the AskRail™ mobile app, which provides real time rail information to first responders.

About Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products.

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