Railroad News

Squires: NS adapting to pandemic's challenges

Norfolk Southern Corp. is well-positioned to "safely and successfully" weather the unprecedented situation presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, NS President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires said last week at the company's annual meeting of shareholders.

Squires addressed shareholders May 14 during the company's first virtual-only annual meeting, a board decision made in response to public health concerns and social distance guidance for the pandemic.

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NS to record charge related to disposal of 300 locomotives, puts up another 400 for sale

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 4/17/2020 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image Norfolk Southern Corp. advised yesterday that it will have take a $385 million charge in first-quarter 2020 related to the disposal of about 300 locomotives and the designation of another 400 locomotives for sale. NS attributed the move to its introduction of precision scheduled railroading measures in 2019, which "continues to provide significant benefits to the network operations and has resulted in excess capacity," company officials said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The non-cash charge will reduce Q1 2020 diluted earnings per share by $1.11, they said. NS is scheduled to report Q1 results on April 29, when it also will provide an update on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sound Transit completes Connect 2020 construction

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 3/24/2020 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image Sound Transit completed its project to connect the existing Link light-rail system to the East Link in Seattle.Photo – Sound Transit Facebook

Sound Transit this week completed Connect 2020, an 11-week project to connect the existing Link light-rail system to the 14-mile East Link extension in Seattle. 

The agency’s existing rail tunnel is now configured for East Link in preparation for extended service to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond, Washington, via 10 new stations in 2023.

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Norfolk Southern reports environmental, economic growth

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 10/17/2019 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image Norfolk Southern achieved an all-time best operations ratio of 65 percent in 2018.Photo – Norfolk Southern Railway

During 2018, Norfolk Southern Corp. decreased its greenhouse gas emissions by 2.6 percent year over year and achieved an all-time best operating ratio of 65 percent, according to the Class I's 12th annual Corporate Social Responsibility report.

Released yesterday, the report details NS' environmental, economic and social impacts during 2018 and early 2019.

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Norfolk Southern EVP, CFO Earhart to retire, George named successor

Norfolk Southern Corp. announced yesterday that Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Earhart will retire on Nov. 1. She will be succeeded by Mark George.

Earhart joined NS in 1985 in the accounting department, where she held positions of increasing responsibility, including assistant VP, before transitioning to information technology.

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NS names Allen Sutherland, Farrell to new exec roles

Norfolk Southern Corp.'s board yesterday approved new responsibilities for Michael Farrell and Vanessa Allen Sutherland effective tomorrow.

As senior vice president of operations and mechanical, Farrell will assume responsibility for the railroad's transportation and mechanical functions.

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For Norfolk Southern, growth is predicated on a new TOP21 operating plan

Last year, NS' network planning and optimization group began developing TOP21 using computer modeling and simulation tools to analyze data and train flows, and to determine optimum network fluidity and velocity.Photo – Norfolk Southern Railway

By Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor

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NS posts record Q2 earnings, operating income

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 7/24/2019 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image NS Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires noted that the company's "strong financial and operational performance" in the quarter was achieved while the railroad finalized its preparations for its new operating plan known as TOP21.Photo – nscorp.com

Norfolk Southern Corp. today reported second-quarter 2019 net income rose 2 percent year-over-year to $722 million as the result of a 4 percent increase in railway operations income.

NS posted diluted earnings per share of $2.70, up 8 percent over the same period a year ago and a second-quarter record, the company announced in a press release.

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Transition to new operating plan was 'smooth,’ NS says

Norfolk Southern Railway yesterday announced the transition to its new TOP21 operating plan earlier this month went smoothly.

The phase one roll out in July's first week in the merchandise network resulted in a seamless changeover with minimal impacts to customer service and network operations, NS officials said in a press release. The first phase focuses on the carload and automotive networks.

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Norfolk Southern kicks off TOP21 operating plan

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 6/28/2019 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image The new plan is designed to improve service performance for customers and provide network efficiencies.Photo – nscorp.com

Today, Norfolk Southern Railway will begin rolling out its new precision scheduled railroad operating plan known as TOP21, the Class I announced yesterday in a customer service alert.

The new plan is designed to improve service performance for customers and provide network efficiencies, NS officials said in the alert.

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NS recognizes 58 chemical customers for safe hazmat practices

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 5/24/2019 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image The award is part of an NS initiative to promote safe rail-shipping practices.Photo – nscorp.com

Norfolk Southern Railway has recognized 58 of its chemical shipper customers with the Class I's 2018 Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award.

The award is part of an NS initiative to promote safe rail-shipping practices in communities the railroad services, according to an NS press release.

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Norfolk Southern's strategic plan is producing results, Squires says

Norfolk Southern Railway in 2019 is "reimagining possible" in all aspects of its business to improve customer service, increase efficiency, drive growth and create shareholder value, President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires Squires said today at the company's annual shareholders meeting.

"We are moving full speed ahead with a new plan for the future that provides a clear path to continued success — success that benefits our customers, our employees, and our shareholders,” said Squires in a press release.

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Norfolk Southern serves new rail transfer facility in New York

Norfolk Southern Railway and the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) recently marked the opening of a new multimodal transfer facility in Gainesville, New York.

The Wyoming Transfer Station will serve companies interested in shipping by rail. It represents the final stage of Wyoming County's rail initiative, which began in 2008 and represents a nearly $1 million investment from the New York State Department of Transportation's (NYSDOT) multimodal program, the Wyoming County IDA, Wyoming County and private site work provided by Marquart Cos., according to an IDA press release.

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Norfolk Southern sets multiple records in Q1, announces new appointments

Norfolk Southern Corp. today reported first-quarter 2019 net income rose 23 percent year over year to $677 million, as a result of a 16 percent increase in income from railway operations and a boost in other income.

Diluted earnings per share jumped 30 percent to $2.51 compared with Q1 2018. The Class I logged operating revenue of $2.8 billion, a first-quarter record and a 5 percent year over year increase. NS attributed the revenue growth to a rise in revenue per unit, resulting from higher rates and fuel surcharges.

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NS introduces new mobile app for shippers

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 4/17/2019 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
imageNorfolk Southern Corp. has unveiled NS Trax, a mobile app designed to make it easier for the Class I's customers to conduct business with the railroad no matter where they are.The app leverages data available in AccessNS, the railroad's desktop e-commerce portal. NS Trax enables customers in the field to manage inventory, view transit exceptions and track real-time movements using a mobile device, according to an NS press release.Also, shippers can use the app to add shipments to a watchlist for priority visibility, search for specific shipments on the NS network, submit local service requests and view waybills for shipments. NS expects to add other features and enhancements to NS Trax throughout the year and beyond, said Ed Elkins, NS' vice president of industrial products.Planned updates include expanding capabilities for local service and unit trains.

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NS diverts Missouri traffic due to flooding

Norfolk Southern Railway is continuing to address service interruptions due to flooding conditions in Hannibal, Missouri, the Class I announced yesterday.

The situation is requiring NS traffic between Decatur, Illinois, and Kansas City, Missouri, to be diverted and operated via St. Louis, NS officials said in an operations alert to customers. Conditions along the route are expected to improve by April 14.

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Norfolk Southern touts growth, operating results in 2018 annual report

Norfolk Southern Corp. posted strong growth and best-ever operating results for operating ratio and income from railway operations last week, the Class I reported late last week in releasing its 2018 annual report online.

For the year, the company achieved an all-time-best operating ratio of 65.4 percent, the third consecutive year of improvement; grew total railway operating revenue 9 percent year-over-year to $11.5 billion; and increased income from railway operations 12 percent to $4 billion, a record.

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Norfolk Southern breaks ground on Atlanta HQ, names three new execs

Norfolk Southern Railway yesterday broke ground on its new Atlanta headquarters and named three company officers to executive positions.

NS Chairman President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires was joined by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at a groundbreaking ceremony held in Atlanta's Midtown area.

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NS, unions differ on merits of brake test simulator for hands-on training

Norfolk Southern Railway has petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration for a waiver of compliance from certain provisions of federal rail safety regulations regarding refresher training for mechanical inspectors.

NS proposes to create a 3D simulation using web-based software to comply with the hands-on portion of required periodic refresher training. The railroad would use a simulator for refresher training on Class I air brake tests instead of hands-on training. The brake test simulator also would be used to enhance training for supervisors and employees in other crafts, including freight-car repair workers and conductors.

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Norfolk Southern to aim for 60 operating ratio by 2021

Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway 2/11/2019 Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
image The Class I's financial targets include a full-year OR improvement in 2019 of at least 100 basis points from the 2018 OR of 65.4 percent.Photo – nscorp.com

Norfolk Southern Corp. officials today will provide details of the Class I’s latest strategic plan, which includes targeting an operating ratio (OR) of 60 percent by 2021.

The details — which will be revealed at the railroad’s Investor and Financial Analyst Conference being held today in Atlanta — will cover ways to increase productivity, efficiency and growth.

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