The derailment of a freight train has created quite a smelly mess on a busy Norfolk Southern line in Berks County, triggering a massive cleanup effort that has backed up train traffic all the way to Chicago.
Six rail cars of a train derailed around 9 p.m. Tuesday on the tracks that run between the Wyomissing Family Restaurant and Bakery on Penn Avenue and the Granite Point building off State Hill Road
Norfolk Southern said the cars that derailed were each carrying multiple containers of municipal solid waste from Oak Island, New Jersey, to Mingo Junction, Ohio, along the railroad's main line in the Northeast.
Tons of trash were left strewn across the tracks and around the derailed cars, but the spill was contained to Norfolk Southern's property, officials said.
The railroad said its safety personnel are on site, coordinating the cleanup efforts with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Other than the smell, the waste poses no harm to the environment, according to the West Side Regional Emergency Management Agency.
While the cleanup is expected to take several days, officials said train traffic on the line should be able to resume later Wednesday.
"Operating safely in the communities we serve is our top priority," the railroad said in a statement to the media. "Norfolk Southern regrets that this incident occurred and apologizes to residents for any inconveniences."
No injuries were reported in the derailment, according to Norfolk Southern.
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the derailment. Officials said it could have been a number of things, including a broken rail, wheel, or axle.