Hempfield train derailment halts Pittsburgh-Harrisburg Amtrak service | TribLIVE.com

Hempfield train derailment halts Pittsburgh-Harrisburg Amtrak service

Patrick Varine
The scene of a train derailment on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Hempfield.

Amtrak will not provide passenger rail service on Saturday between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg due to Friday’s multi-train derailment in Hempfield, according to a company spokeswoman.

Three Norfolk Southern Corp. freight trains were involved in the derailment, which happened about three miles east of Greensburg.

The crash derailed 50 shipping containers, blocking both rail lines that carry freight and passenger traffic on the heavily-traveled route between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the railroad said.

That section of the Norfolk Southern tracks is used by Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian train that connects Pittsburgh with Harrisburg, Philadelphia and New York City. Passengers on the Pennsylvanian on Friday were transported by bus from Altoona to their destination, said Kimberly Woods, Amtrak spokeswoman.

The trains derailed just west of the Georges Station Road bridge in Hempfield, along a double mainline section of track.

The recovery effort includes using cranes, excavators, loaders, and other heavy equipment to clear the tracks of derailed rail cars and shipping containers, according to Norfolk Southern officials.

Eleven intermodal rail cars transporting 50 shipping containers derailed. Two locomotives also derailed but remained upright.

Norfolk Southern expects to restore service to the double mainline tracks late Saturday night.

“Customers with traffic moving through this area should anticipate delays of 24 to 48 hours (from late Saturday morning) as the railroad works through a backlog of traffic,” Norfolk Southern officials told the Trib in an emailed statement.

The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

Below, Hempfield Manager Jason Winters addresses media about the crash.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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