Did The Derailed Train Go Through Stark County?

The situation in East Palestine has more questions than answers and has left Americans to wonder if they are safe. Considering that East Palestine is about an hour away from Canton, I wondered “Did the derailed train go through Stark County?” and while I couldn’t find a clear answer, here’s what I’ve found.

What we know:

The train known as 32N derailed in East Palestine on the evening of February 3rd. 38 cars barreled into each other, causing flames and pressure, which eventually damaged other cars. 5 of the tankers involved carried vinyl chloride, a chemical used in the production of hard plastics. Vinyl chloride’s cancer causing properties are well known, as are it’s ability to get into air and water. Knowing the chemicals could leak, Norfolk Southern officials decided burning the vinyl chloride was the best option. The smoke from the burn was striking and intense. According to CBS News, the 32N originated in Madison, Illinois , which is right out side of St. Louis and was headed to Conway, Pennsylvania. The Pittsburg Post Gazette reports that train had been shooting flames in Salem prior to derailing. Vice News claims employees knew the 32N was overloaded and unsafe.

Did the 32N pass through Stark County?

It seems so. According to OpenRailwayMap.org and Google Earth, East Palestine only has one railway and that one railway definitely passes through Alliance. The only question is which railway 32N followed to get to Alliance. According to OpenRailwayMap.org and Google Earth, Alliance is a converging point for 2 different rail lines.

Photo: Google Earth

One is a mainline that runs from the north and goes through Cleveland. Hazardous trains are required to use this line. This hazardous train rerouting happened in 2020.

The other rail is a branch line that runs through Canton. According to Governor Mike DeWine, the train was not a hazardous train, as it’s load was under 50 percent hazardous material. Due to this, Norfolk Southern did not have to notify the government of it’s contents. Considering this, 32N may have been routed via the railway coming through Canton, as opposed to the railway dedicated to hazardous trains that runs through Cleveland. Until Norfolk Southern lets us know, we don’t know. Hazardous material train routes aren’t public information for security reasons, but I’m surprised it’s been this difficult to find out where this train was.

If you have any corrections or additional information that is relevant, please email me at [email protected].

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