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Norfolk Southern drops plan for former brick company site in Atlanta

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 2/19/2021 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image Norfolk Southern Corp. has dropped plans to build a rail transfer facility on the site of the former Chattahoochee Brick Co. in Atlanta, which has a tragic history of forced labor around the turn of the 20th century. NS terminated its plan after the city petitioned the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for a preliminary injunction against the project. "We accepted from the beginning that we had a special responsibility to develop this site in a socially and environmentally responsible way, given the atrocities that once took place there," said NS Chairman President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires in a press release. "We believe our project presented an opportunity to create a long-overdue memorial to the painful legacy of the site, and at the same time reshape its future by building new river trails and putting the long-abandoned land back into productive use in a way that benefits the regional economy." The city's STB filing notes the site's "tremendous historical and cultural significance" to Atlanta, and that there's evidence indicating the site is a burial ground. Although NS officials believe the city's action lacks legal merit, they do not want to engage in protracted litigation if the city opposes the project, they said. "We pride ourselves on being a good corporate citizen in the communities where we operate," said Squires. "In this case, that means walking away from the project despite our very best efforts to work with the community on the responsible development of the site." Throughout 2020, NS worked with local elected officials, held multiple meetings to listen to concerns of community stakeholders and incorporated that feedback into plans for the site, NS officials said. The company also engaged outside experts to perform an archaeological and historical survey, as well as archaeological excavation in certain areas. No evidence was found of a cemetery on the site, but given the site's tragic legacy, the company committed to exercise "great care" as development continued, NS officials said. NS will complete the necessary work to stabilize and secure the site and then withdraw, they added.  

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NS helped 86 shippers find, expand rail-served sites in 2020

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 1/29/2021 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image Norfolk Southern Railway today announced it assisted 86 businesses in locating new or expanded facilities on its network in 2020. Across 18 states, NS customers invested $1.8 billion to open 70 new plants and expand 16 rail-served facilities. The industrial development is expected to create more than 2,960 customer jobs and generate over 54,300 carloads of new volume annually for NS. "Despite the impacts of COVID-19, rail-served industrial development in our service area remained steady overall throughout 2020," said Kathleen Smith, NS vice president of business development and real estate, in a press release. "We have a solid pipeline of business development opportunity in 2021 beyond across our automotive and industrial product markets." The largest industrial development projects last year include a medical products production facility in Linwood, North Carolina; a paper-packaging products plant in Palmyra, Pennsylvania; a roofing shingle manufacturing facility in Avery, Ohio; a grain-related expansion in Portage, Indiana; a steel mill expansion in Calvert, Alabama; and automotive-related projects in Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Over the past decade, NS has supported the location of 872 new or expanded facilities representing $58 billion in private investment along its network.  

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NS reports higher income, record operating ratio in Q4

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 1/27/2021 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image Norfolk Southern Corp. today reported fourth-quarter 2020 net income increased 1% to $671 million, or $2.64 diluted earnings per share, from $666 million, or $2.55 per share, in the same quarter in 2019. The Class I's fourth-quarter railway operating revenue fell 4% to $2.6 billion, driven by a 1% decline in volume, lower fuel surcharges and differing business mix, NS officials said in a press release. Railway operating expenses were $1.6 billion, down 8%. Lower fuel costs, compensation and benefits and purchased services were partially offset by lower gains on property sales, company officials said. Income from railway operations climbed 2% to $1 billion. NS posted an operating ratio of 61.8% for the quarter, an all-time record, compared with 64.2% in the same 2019 period. "As we take stock of what we achieved in 2020 while managing both the pandemic and energy market challenges, including the successful idling of four additional hump operations while driving productivity to record levels, we see much more opportunity ahead," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires. "We have set the stage to drive further efficiency and profitable growth in 2021 through our precision scheduled railroading operating plan, which will deliver long-term value for both our shareholders and customers." NS also announced plans to spend about $1.6 billion on capital expenditures in 2021.    

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NS' Squires talks Atlanta move, PSR and economic recovery

Norfolk Southern Corp. officials expect to make the company's historic move to a new Atlanta headquarters in September, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires said earlier this week.

In a "fireside chat" held Tuesday with members of the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), Squires said construction of the new campus is well underway.

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NS posts lower revenue, income, OR in Q3

Norfolk Southern Railway today reported third-quarter 2020 net income of $569 million and diluted earnings per share of $2.22, compared with net income of $657 million and diluted earnings per share of $2.49 in the same quarter a year ago.

This year's Q3 results included a previously announced $99 million non-cash impairment charge. Excluding the charge, adjusted Q3 net income was $643 million and adjusted diluted earnings per share were $2.51, NS officials said in a press release.

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