Port Richmond remembers own train derailments

PORT RICHMOND - December 3, 2012

Port Richmond has had a slice of Paulsboro's pain over the years, especially in 1999.

Leaks of hazardous material from two separate derailments months apart took place on Conrail property. It caused evacuations.

In one of those incidents, in September of that year, a Conrail tanker fell off a railroad bridge onto a street releasing phenol, a toxic chemical, at Allegheny Avenue and Janney Street.

There were no injuries reported.

But it serves as a caution to residents who remember.

"We don't know if it will blow up; you never know what's going to happen," Teresa McGrath of Port Richmond said.

The Federal Railroad Administration says 310 rail accidents cause hazmat spills over the past decade.

Those numbers have seen a decrease in recent years and in 2011 they reported 20 accidents.

So far this year, there are 17.

Resident Michelle McVesby says regardless of past issues with trains, she is staying put.

"It's a concern, but I don't worry about moving," McVesby said.

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