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'Slow, Methodical' Process Of Removing Derailed Freight Train Cars Begins

Kathleen J. Davis
90.5 WESA
A container of a derailed train car is lifted by a crane by Station Square on Monday, August 6, 2018.

Cleanup efforts are underway on Pittsburgh’s South Side to remove seven derailed cars from a Norfolk Southern freight train, which caused extensive damage to the Station Square light rail stop on Sunday. It's unclear how long the process will take, according to the city's Department of Public Safety.

It took Norfolk Southern contractors about six and a half hours Monday to remove one container from a derailed car to the East Carson Street sidewalk below. Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich says there's still lots of work to be done.

"It's going to be a slow, methodical operation here to make sure there's less risk of anyone getting injured," Hissrich said.

The train was heading from New Jersey to Chicago, and contained consumer goods such as kitchen supplies and Listerine. Hissrich says the cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

"I do know that [Norfolk Southern] was working with the black box, but I don't know the results," Hissrich said. 

Light rail service is suspended at the Station Square stop until further notice. Dormant tracks that run through Allentown have been resurrected to allow the T to avoid Station Square, and a shuttle bus will run from the South Hills Junction to the upper stations of the Monongahela and Duquesne Inclines. The Monongahela Incline is out of service because of its proximity to the derailment.

East Carson Street is closed between Arlington Avenue and the Smithfield Street Bridge. The Bridge is also closed until further notice.

Port Authority of Allegheny County spokesperson Adam Brandolph says they can start assessing damage to the light rail tracks after the train cars are removed.

"Our engineers who are out there are saying days, not weeks," Brandolph said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.