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Welcome to OAR!

Launched in June 2015, the goal of OAR is to educate the public about the economic importance of the safe movement of hazardous materials by rail and to connect emergency first responders in Norfolk Southern communities with information and training resources. Our website,, has the following information (and a lot more) available at the touch of a mouse.
  • Training options and sign-ups:
    • Hazmat Safety Train Program
    • Tabletop Exercises
    • SERTC Openings
    • Online Training
  • Information on what NS carries
  • How to get the AskRail™ app and other useful response tools
  • Pictures of the NS 9-1-1 locomotive
  • Railroad Emergency Phone Numbers

Enter to WIN!

We are giving away an OAR collectors coin. To sign up, simply send an email to, with details about where you are from and you will be signed up for your chance to win!

All Aboard the OAR Safety Train
In keeping with a strong tradition of safety, on April 22, 2016 Norfolk Southern rolled out the new NS HazMat Safety Train in Altoona, PA to help first responders across its network respond to potential rail-related incidents.  Norfolk Southern has been providing safety training for emergency responders through community outreach programs such as TRANSCAER® for years.

The brand new safety train, with a dedicated locomotive, specially equipped classroom box cars, and several tanks cars for additional hands-on training will strengthen relationships with local first responders by providing classroom, web-based, and field training on hazardous materials transportation, as well as information about rail operations.

"The NS hazmat safety train is like a rolling classroom, delivering hands-on training directly to emergency responders in communities along our rail lines,” said David Schoendorfer, Norfolk Southern system manager hazardous materials. “We are committed to moving these materials as safely and efficiently as possible, and building partnerships with emergency first responders as part of our TRANSCAER® initiative is a vital part of operating a safe rail network.”

Our safety train includes: a locomotive, 2 box car classrooms, 4 tank cars, and 2 specially equipped flat cars to provide hands-on training. Each session has a classroom and hands-on component and last 4 hours. 
The training sessions include the following topics:

  • Safety on Railroad Property
  • Rail Shipping Documents
  • Rail Equipment Identification
  • Rail Tank Cars
  • Locomotive Fires
  • Flammable Liquid Unit Trains
  • Incident Response Procedures
  • Working with Railroad Officials
  • AskRail Mobile App
Please find the schedule below. You can sign up at

The Safety Train Schedule - Summer/Fall 2016

Another Important Tool: The AskRail App

Through AskRail’s easy-to-use mobile interface, emergency responders can:
  • Query the contents of a railcar with a simple railcar ID search
  • View emergency contact information for all Class 1 railroads and Amtrak
  • Access reference resources that can support their incident response
Who can access AskRail and how?
  • Step 1: You must email a request to download the app to the railroad that traverses your communities (via
  • Step 2: The railroad will verify that you are a first responder who is eligible to access the app.
  • Step 3: The railroad will grant you access by forwarding your request to Railinc.
  • Step 4: Railinc will send you an email invitation to formally register, sign a user agreement, and download the app.
*The app works on Android and iOS systems.
The Safety Train- First Stop: Harrisburg
The new Norfolk Southern Safety Train arrived in Harrisburg, PA at the Lucknow yard on May 11 th for 3 days of first responder training. This TRANSCAER® training was held in 4-hour sessions morning, afternoon, and evening to provide as much flexibility as possible for first responders to attend.  They were trained on several topics from safety around the rails, identifying rail equipment, locomotive fires, Incident Management, Unified Command, and working with the Norfolk Southern Public Information officer during emergencies. The sessions were held in the new state of the art boxcar classrooms and hands on activities were conducted on the DOT-105, -DOT-111, DOT112, and DOT117 tank cars. The attendees also got to review the interior and exterior components of a NS locomotive. During the training session more than half of the 4-hour session is spent doing hands-on activities. Norfolk Southern also presented and signed up first responders for the ASKRAIL App for smart phones that allows the first responders to view data on a single car or the trains consist.  Just as important as the training, was the excellent interaction occurred which occurred between the responders and NS employees instructing.
(Instructors were Dave Pidgeon- Manager Public Relations, Scott Deutsch -Regional Manager Hazardous Materials, Scott Gould -Hazardous Materials Compliance Officer, Ethan Moyer – NS Conductor,   John Casey - Retired NS HM Compliance Officer).    
OAR also donated a box car to Rowan Cabarrus Community College in Salisbury, North Carolina . A tank car was additionally  coordinated directly through GATX. In addition to being used in their programs, the College will also host OAR classes for local responders in the fall. 
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