DERAILED: Disaster in East Palestine

Norfolk Southern: East Palestine toxic derailment to cost $387 million

The transport company announced its first-quarter profit figures, which included the $387 million estimated loss associated with the derailment.

A Norfolk Southern freight train makes it way through Homestead, Pa.
A Norfolk Southern freight train makes it way through Homestead, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Norfolk Southern has revealed that the toxic train crash in East Palestine, Ohio, will cost the company $387 million.

The transport company announced Wednesday that its first-quarter profit was $711 million, which factored in a $387 million loss associated with the Eastern Ohio derailment.

"From the beginning, we have been guided by one principle: We are going to do whatever it takes to make it right for East Palestine and the surrounding areas," said Norfolk Southern President and Chief Executive Officer Alan H. Shaw in a statement. "We are making progress every day and I’m proud of our people. Our response reflects our strategy of focusing on long-term priorities and value."

The 50-car derailment on Feb. 3 resulted in a massive, days-long fire that sent plumes of toxic smoke into the air and prompted evacuations in the town of about 4,700 residents.

Shaw has also promised to support a bipartisan measure to overhaul railroad safety standards.

This photo taken with a drone on Feb. 4, 2023, shows portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train still on fire.

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While the company’s net income for the period dropped by 34% compared to $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2022, they saw a jump in operating revenue of 7%, or $217 million, compared to last year, according to Norfolk Southern’s report.

The $387 total is an initial estimate of the money the company has spent so far combined with future costs the derailment will bring. So far, Norfolk Southern has spent $55 million on recovery efforts following the derailment, according to Mark George, the company’s chief financial officer, in remarks during a conference call with investors. 

The $387 million loss does not include any potential recoveries that the company may receive under its insurance policies, the company states.