While residents of East Palestine, Ohio are still navigating the chaotic aftermath of their own Norfolk Southern train derailment, another of the company’s trains has derailed outside Detroit, Michigan. At least six cars were rooted off the track Thursday morning.
The incident occurred in Van Buren Township; the community’s public safety Facebook page reported no injuries, and no evidence of exposed hazardous materials. The page reported that one car contained liquid chlorine, but was not among the six uprooted cars.
“One railcar that derailed contained agricultural grain and the remaining cars were empty. No hazardous material release to soil or waterway (located approximately 900ft to the NW),” Incident Management Specialist Travis Boeskool said in a statement on Facebook. “Norfolk Southern has equipment on-site and is removing/uprighting rail cars. They anticipate having the railcars removed and (the) rail open later today.”
The page also noted an immediate response from numerous officials, including Representative Debbie Dingell who activated FEMA and an EPA response team.
“After the recent incident in Ohio, Van Buren is going to know we are safe before we disengage from this event,” the township concluded.
The far-right already seems to be pouncing on the incident as proof of conspiracy amok, particularly after the derailment in East Palestine.
But in reality, from 1990 to 2021, there were at least 54,539 accidents in which a train derailed, according to the Bureau of Transportation. That is an average of 1,704 derailments per year.
So while it may certainly seem as if these crashes are happening at a suspiciously inordinate pace, that feeling actually just comes from an exposure bias from the media finally directing more attention to our poor infrastructure and accompanying regulation.
In the same way every new day seems to hold the possibility for another mass shooting, or another instance of police brutality, so too does it hold the possibility for another failure of our infrastructure. There’s not some new conspiracy—we’ve had a bad record of standards for years. Maybe with all this attention we can actually do something about it.