A special train traveled to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia to provide emergency preparedness training to first responders as part of the 2008 Norfolk Southern TRANSCAER Whistle-Stop Tour.

TRANSCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) is a nationwide program that assists communities in preparing for and responding to a possible hazardous material transportation incident.

‘The Whistle-Stop Tour brings emergency preparedness training to response organizations and educates communities near major rail routes about rail equipment, chemical transportation, and the importance of planning for potential hazardous material transportation emergencies,’ said Chuck Wehrmeister, Norfolk Southern’s vice president safety and environmental.

The tour kicked off in Austell, GA, and made stops in Greenville, SC, Charlotte, NC, Greensboro, NC, and Roanoke, VA. More than 1,200 emergency responders participated in the training programs taught by chemical and rail transportation experts.

At each location, state and local emergency planning committees, emergency responders, and government officials can participate in hands-on drills and training sessions. Railroad training tank cars, specialized emergency response vehicles, and over-the-road tank trucks will be on display.

This is the ninth TRANSCAER train Norfolk Southern has sponsored since 1994. TRANSCAER sponsors include the Association of American Railroads, American Chemistry Council, The Chlorine Institute, Chemical Educational Foundation, CHEMTREC’, National Tank Truck Carriers Inc., US Department of Energy (Environmental Management Office), and the Renewable Fuels Association.

The following companies and organizations participated in the tour: Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, DuPont, Firefighters Education and Training Foundation, BASF, Hepaco Inc., Hulcher Services, Olin Corp., Operation Lifesaver of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, Operation Respond Institute, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Potash Corporation, SWS First Response, US Department of Energy, US Department of Transportation, US Environmental Services, HMHTTC, National Foam, SRS Emergency Services, CHEMTREC, and Renewable Fuels Association.