South Fulton County

Norfolk Southern hosts first responders for future derailment training

EAST POINT, Ga. — Alan Shaw, the CEO of Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern, said the railroad plans to be in East Palestine, Ohio for as long as it takes to help the town recover from the toxic train derailment in February.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot visited their East Point railyard Tuesday where the CEO showed off the railroad’s rolling classroom for training first responders.

Shaw said getting those first responders up to speed is critical if there is a derailment.

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Under a blazing Georgia sun, dozens of firefighters from East Point, College Park, and Hapeville lined up onboard Norfolk Southern’s rolling classroom on Tuesday.

It is a training train.

They use this train to teach first responders what to do if and when there’s a derailment.

“And today, the train with the first responders is all about the response, making sure that they understand what would happen on a real train,” Shaw said. “We want to make sure that they have that exposure.”

Just four months ago, a Norfolk Southern train jumped the tracks outside of East Palestine, Ohio.

The toxic burning chemicals forced the evacuation of half of that town and there are still concerns over contaminated soil and water.

Shaw said remediation is Norfolk Southern’s promise.

“We’ve got about 300 Norfolk Southern employees who are there seven days a week and what I find is that when they come home, they want to go back,” Shaw said. “They’re up there working on the environmental remediation.”


Shaw said they’ve set up long-term funds to help the communities with healthcare, property valuations, and long-term water monitoring.

Shaw joined Governor Brian Kemp in taking a closer look at the training train.

“We know how important training is not only for railroads but also for first responders,” Kemp said.

Shaw promised the people of Ohio that his company would be there for the long haul.

“We’re going to be there five years from now. We’re going to be there ten years from now. And we’re going to do the right thing,” Shaw said.

In the meantime, Norfolk Southern continues to fight a class action lawsuit filed by some East Palestine residents.

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