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Slidell, La., area emergency responders sharpen their skills on Norfolk Southern safety train

Norfolk, Va. - Nov 14, 2016


Norfolk Southern Corporation’s safety train rolled into Slidell, La., last week, hosting 143 area emergency responders who received advanced training in safely handling potential rail incidents involving hazardous materials.

“The safety train is a mobile technical training center – a vocational school – for the continuing education of first responders and representatives of government agencies who support Norfolk Southern’s commitment to incident-free handling of hazardous materials,” said David Schoendorfer, Norfolk Southern’s system manager hazardous materials. “It’s a whistle-stop train that helps keep our communities safe.”

Staged at the Slidell Amtrak station, the safety train attracted emergency responders from the Bogalusa Fire Department, Fort Pike Fire Department, Live Oak Manor Volunteer Fire Department, McComb Fire Department, and St. Tammany Fire Districts 1, 3, and 4. Also attending were representatives from the hazardous materials teams of Airgas and BASF.

“The Norfolk Southern Operations Awareness & Response course was excellent with the instructors sharing their extensive experience and training. Proper and regular training is extremely important for us to be able to protect our citizens and our personnel,” said Captain Greg Kelly with the St. Tammany Fire District #1 in Slidell, a 21-year fire service veteran who participated in the training with 106 members of his department. “Meeting and training with the other responders was a great opportunity to build better working relationships.”

The train is visiting 18 cities in 13 states during its inaugural tour this year. To date, more than 1,850 emergency responders have received professional instruction on the train. At every location, emergency responders can choose from among three days of free training that includes instructor-led and hands-on learning. The train includes two boxcars converted into classrooms, four types of railroad tank cars used in transporting all types of chemicals, and two specially equipped flat cars.

“Norfolk Southern has a great safety record, but in the unlikely event of a train derailment involving hazmat, we want to help make sure the communities we serve are prepared,” Schoendorfer said. “It’s a best business practice to help with preparedness.”

The training is beneficial for all emergency responders, including representatives of fire departments, law enforcement, emergency medical services, hazmat response teams, emergency management personnel, military, homeland security personnel, rail regulators, shippers, and customers. To learn more, go to and click on “Training.”

The dedicated safety train is part of Norfolk Southern’s “Operation Awareness and Response” initiative launched in 2015 to educate the public about the safe movement of hazardous materials by rail and to connect emergency first responders in Norfolk Southern communities with information and training resources. Including instruction on the train and through other course offerings, Norfolk Southern in 2016 has trained more than 4,000 local emergency responders throughout its operating territory.

About Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products.

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