Train that derailed in Van Buren Township operated by Norfolk Southern; no hazmat leak reported

No injuries reported in train derailment

Train derailment in Van Buren Township on Feb. 16, 2023. (WDIV/Nightcam)

A train operated by Norfolk Southern, the same operators behind the Ohio derailment, went off the rails Thursday morning in Van Buren Township.

The first reports of the derailment came before 8:45 a.m. Thursday from the train tracks in the area of Huron River Drive between Martinsville and Haggerty roads. Aerial video showed several train cars off the tracks. The tracks were damaged, and several sets of wheels became disconnected from cars.

A representative with Norfolk Southern told Local 4 that there were no hazardous materials spilled in the crash, and there were no reports of injuries. It’s currently unclear what the train was carrying through the area, but officials said no train cars containing hazardous materials were involved.

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell released a statement on the train derailment:

“My team and I have been in touch with Supervisor Kevin McNamara, the Van Buren Fire Department, and other local officials regarding the train derailment in Van Buren Township. We are also in touch with the relevant federal authorities, including the EPA. At this time no one is aware of the release of any hazardous materials, the car carrying hazardous material has been put upright and is being removed from the area of the other derailed cars, and EPA is dispatching a team to ensure public safety. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely and remain in touch with federal, state, and local officials, and release additional information as it becomes available.”

Michigan U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell

Norfolk Southern has been the subject of public outrage after a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio -- about 250 miles from Detroit -- caused a spill of toxic chemicals and sparking a fire that sent a huge plume of smoke over the community.

Residents were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses, and have since complained of side effects they believe to be the result of the spill, including headaches, irritated eyes and sick pets.

Ohio state officials insisted on Wednesday that testing shows the air is safe to breathe around East Palestine, where just under 5,000 people live near the Pennsylvania state line. They promised that air and water monitoring would continue.

The head of the EPA is scheduled to meet with residents in Ohio on Thursday.

Norfolk Southern is one of the country’s biggest transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 19,300 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States.

Norfolk Southern is a major transporter of industrial products, including agriculture, forest and consumer products, chemicals, and metals and construction materials. In addition, the railroad operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a principal carrier of coal, automobiles, and automotive parts.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.