(Elmira, New York – November 29, 2011)
The mysterious appearance of a derailed and overturned railroad car in the parking lot of the Hilliard Corporation in Elmira, NY Nov. 19 put the Norfolk Southern Railway in the hot seat Tuesday, as U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) complained bitterly of NS’s failure to tell city emergency management or Hilliard corporate officials of the accident.
“While it’s a huge relief that no one was injured, this accident must bring about immediate and aggressive change,” said Senator Schumer in his letter to Norfolk Southern officials and his subsequent news release in regard to the incident.
Schumer demanded that the railroad make a full report to the public on the crash, clarify its policy regarding notification and, if necessary, make changes so local officials are informed whenever an incident occurs.
“Norfolk Southern is preparing a thorough response to Senator Schumer’s inquiry,” said company spokesman Dave Pidgeon. “We take these concerns seriously and will provide the senator with the facts of this incident in a timely fashion. Safety is Norfolk Southern’s top priority.”
But Elmira Mayor John Tornello was far from impressed.
“Norfolk Southern’s response to this accident was wholly inadequate and, frankly, outrageous,” observed the city’s chief elected official. “They failed to provide even the most basic information about the derailment to the city or emergency service agencies, suggesting an arrogance that places Elmiran’s at risk.”