U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) is expected to send a letter Monday to Federal Railroad Administration head Amit Bose to call for an investigation into several train derailments in Alabama after four incidents in the state this year, all having to do with Norfolk Southern trains.
A Norfolk Southern train derailed in Calhoun County in March. Another Norfolk Southern train derailed earlier this month in Shelby County near Helena, and another derailed in Jasper on April 8.
According to reports, a Norfolk Southern train caught fire in Birmingham last week.
The Alabama derailments have occurred amid national scrutiny in the face of the railroad company.
Following a February 3 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, a controlled burn of five derailed cars resulted in a spill of hazardous materials, including 1.1 million pounds of vinyl chloride. The company's safety practices have been under investigation since, and the DOJ is seeking relief and civil penalties. Norfolk Southern's CEO apologized before Congress last month and agreed to pay for damages.
Norfolk Southern is headquartered in Atlanta and owns over 25,000 miles of railroad in the Eastern half of the United States. Several of its largest shareholders, such as Vanguard and BlackRock, have committed to investing with consideration of politically-charged Environmental, Social and Governance scores.
Sewell told WBRC that she wanted to see more oversight over trains in Alabama and is working on a $10 million railroad elimination grant proposal to expand railyard for trains to park and get off the tracks.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) expressed concern over "the overall safety of our rail system" and advocated a "deep dive" into Norfolk Southern's safety protocol by the Transportation Infrastructure Committee.
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