Israel Railways temporarily suspends train service between Be’er Sheva and Kiryat Gat; firefighters say no leaks found.
By Shirly Seidler | Sep. 24, 2013

Train service between Be’er Sheva and Kiryat Gat has been suspended following the derailing of a cargo train carrying hazardous substances near Kiryat Gat on Monday night.

In the absence of trains, Israel Railways is operating a bus shuttle service from Be’er Sheva to destinations further north. However, the buses are reportedly packed and experiencing delays.

The derailed train was transporting the chemicals bromine and potassium. No cause was given for the accident, which resulted in the wagons overturning and one of the chemical tanks being cracked. Firefighters said that no chemical leaks had been found.

“The containers holding bromine were in the front of the train and weren’t damaged, which prevented a great tragedy,” said an area fire service spokesman.

The other hazardous substance the train carried was solid potassium, which only becomes dangerous when placed in contact with water. As a result, police have closed off the area to traffic and searched the surrounding area for any water sources to ensure that they do not come in contact with the potassium.

The train’s engineer and his assistant escaped from the engine and no injuries were reported.