Norfolk Southern Railway

The Norfolk Southern Railway (reporting mark NS[3]) is a Class I freight railroad in the United States. With headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, the company operates 19,420 miles (31,250 km) route miles in 22 eastern states, the District of Columbia,[4] and has rights in Canada over the Albany to Montréal route of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and previously on CN from Buffalo to St. Thomas.[5][6] NS is responsible for maintaining 28,400 miles (45,700 km), with the remainder being operated under trackage rights from other parties responsible for maintenance.[7] The most common commodity hauled on the railway is coal from mines in Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The railway also offers the largest intermodal network in eastern North America.

NS is a major transporter of domestic and export coal. The railway's major sources of the mineral are located in: Pennsylvania's Cambria and Indiana counties, as well as the Monongahela Valley; West Virginia; and the Appalachia regions of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In Pennsylvania, NS also receives coal through interchange with R.J. Corman Railroad/Pennsylvania Lines at Cresson, Pennsylvania, originating in the "Clearfield Cluster". NS's export of West Virginia bituminous coal begins transport on portions of the well-engineered former Virginian Railway and the former N&W double-tracked line in Eastern Virginia to its Lambert's Point coal pier on Hampton Roads at Norfolk. Coal transported by NS is thus exported to steel mills and power plants around the world. The company is also a major transporter of auto parts and completed vehicles. It operates intermodal container and TOFC (trailer on flat car) trains, some in conjunction with other railways. NS was the first railway to employ roadrailers (highway truck trailers with interchangeable wheel sets).

Norfolk Southern is the namesake and leading subsidiary of Norfolk Southern Corporation, also based in Norfolk. Norfolk Southern Corporation was incorporated on July 23, 1980 in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol NSC. The primary business function of Norfolk Southern Corporation is the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods across the Southeast, East, and Midwest United States. The corporation further facilitates transport to the remainder of the United States through interchange with other rail carriers while also serving overseas transport needs by serving several Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports. As of April 10, 2019, Norfolk Southern Corporation's total public stock value was slightly over $51.6 billion.[8]

On December 12, 2018, Norfolk Southern announced that it would be relocating its headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia; leaving its hometown of Norfolk after 38 years. The move is expected to be completed by the year 2021.[9]

Norfolk Southern Railway
Norfolk Southern Railway system map
NS system map; trackage rights in purple
Norfolk Southern Railway - 9204 diesel locomotive (CW40-9) (north of Inaha, Georgia, USA) 1 (22813045600)
A Norfolk Southern GE Dash 9-40CW locomotive
Reporting markNS
LocaleEastern and Midwestern United States
Dates of operation1982–Present
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length21,500 miles (34,600 kilometres)
HeadquartersNorfolk, Virginia
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Traded asNYSENSC
DJTA Component
S&P 500 Component
FoundedNorfolk, Virginia, USA (July 23, 1980)
Norfolk, Virginia
United States
Key people
  • James A. Squires
(Chairman, President & CEO)
  • Increase US$ 11.245 billion (2013)[1]
  • Decrease US$ 11.04 billion (2012)[1]
  • Increase US$ 3.257 billion (2013)[1]
  • Decrease US$ 3.124 billion (2012)[1]
  • Increase US$ 1.91 billion (2013)[1]
  • Decrease US$ 1.749 billion (2012)[1]
Total assets
  • Increase US$ 32.483 billion (2013)[2]
  • Increase US$ 30.342 billion (2012)[1]
Total equity
  • Increase US$ 11.289 billion (2013)[2]
  • Decrease US$ 9.76 billion (2012)[1]
Number of employees
  • Increase 30,943
9 NS
NS building in Atlanta, Georgia


The system began in 1982 with the creation of the Norfolk Southern Corporation, a holding company for the Southern Railway (SOU, formed in 1894) and Norfolk & Western Railway (N&W, formed in 1881). The new company was given the name of the Norfolk Southern Railway, an older line acquired by SOU in 1974, that primarily served North Carolina and the southeastern tip of Virginia. Headquarters for the new NS were established in Norfolk, Virginia. The company suffered a slight embarrassment[10] when the marble headpiece at the building's entrance was unveiled, which read "Norfork Southern Railway". A new headpiece replaced the erroneous one several weeks later.[11] NS aimed to compete in the eastern United States with CSX Transportation, formed after the Interstate Commerce Commission's 1980 approval of the merger of the Chessie System and the Seaboard System.

Norfolk Southern's predecessor railroads date to the early 19th century.

The SOU's earliest predecessor line was the South Carolina Canal & Rail Road. Chartered in 1827, the South Carolina Canal & Rail Road Company became the first to offer regularly scheduled passenger train service with the inaugural run of the Best Friend of Charleston in 1830.[12] Another early predecessor, the Richmond & Danville Railroad (R&D), was formed in 1847 and expanded into a large system after the American Civil War under Algernon S. Buford. The R&D ultimately fell on hard times and in 1894, it became a major portion of the new Southern Railway (SOU). Financier J. P. Morgan selected veteran railroader Samuel Spencer as president. Profitable and innovative, Southern became, in 1953, the first major U.S. railroad to completely switch to diesel-electric locomotives from steam.

The City Point Railroad, established in 1838, was a 9-mile (14 km) railroad in Virginia that started south of Richmond — specifically, City Point on the navigable portion of the James River, now part of the independent city of Hopewell — and ran to Petersburg. It was acquired by the South Side Railroad in 1854. After the Civil War, it became part of the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad (AM&O), a trunk line across Virginia's southern tier formed by mergers in 1870 by William Mahone, who had built the Norfolk & Petersburg Railroad in the 1850s. The AM&O was the oldest portion of the Norfolk & Western (N&W) when it was formed in 1881, under new owners with a keen interest and financial investments in the coal fields of Western Virginia and West Virginia, a product which came to define and enrich the railroad. In the second half of the 20th century, the N&W acquired the Virginian Railway (1959), the Wabash Railway, and the Nickel Plate Road, among others.[13]

In 1982, the two systems merged and formed the Norfolk Southern Railway.

The system grew with the acquisition of over half of Conrail. In 1996, CSX bid to buy Conrail; Norfolk Southern, fearing that CSX would come to dominate rail traffic in the eastern U.S., responded with a bid of its own. On June 23, 1997, NS and CSX filed a joint application with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for authority to purchase, divide, and operate the assets of Conrail. On June 6, 1998, the STB approved the NS-CSX application, effective August 22, 1998. NS acquired 58% of Conrail assets, including about 7,200 miles (11,600 km) of track, most of which was part of the former Pennsylvania Railroad. CSX got the remaining 42%. NS began operating its trains on its portion of the former Conrail network on June 1, 1999, closing out the 1990s merger era. The Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) was a 11,000-mile (18,000 km) system formed in 1976 from the Penn Central Railroad (1968–1976),[13] and five other ailing northeastern railroads that were conveyed into it, to form a government-financed corporation. Conrail was perhaps the most controversial conglomerate in corporate history. Penn Central itself was created by merging three venerable rivals — the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR, 1846), the New York Central Railroad (NYC, 1831), and the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (NYNH&H, 1872) — as well as some smaller competitors. In 1980, Conrail had become profitable after the Staggers Act largely deregulated the U.S. railroad industry. Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation have a duopoly over all east-west freight rail traffic east of the Mississippi River.

In 2016, a proposed merger that had been months in the pipeline with Canadian Pacific was abandoned abruptly.[14] The proposed merger would have seen the joining of two companies worth over $20 billion each.

According to NS's 2018 Annual Report to Investors, at the end of 2018, NS had more than 26,000 employees, 4,100 locomotives, and 54,400 freight cars. At the end of 2018, the transport of coal made up 16% of the total operating revenue of NS, general merchandise (automotive, chemicals, metals, construction materials, agriculture commodities, consumer products, paper, clay, and forest products) made up 59%, and intermodal made up 25% of the total.

Company officers

Current trackage

Regional divisions

  • Lake
  • Dearborn
  • Illinois
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Piedmont
  • Pittsburgh
  • Harrisburg
  • Pocahontas

Pittsburgh Line

Coal Through the Cut (4933237722)
Two NS trains heading east along the Pittsburgh Line

The Pittsburgh Line is NS's principal east–west line from the Northeast to the Midwest. Running from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Conway, Pennsylvania, it once was the core of the Pennsylvania Railroad's (PRR) main line. An average day sees 60 to 110 trains of all types. The line is home to the famous Horseshoe Curve.

Chicago Corridor

At about 150 miles, this is the most direct route for NS trains between Chicago and Fort Wayne, Indiana. It has 16 passing sidings and several stretches of double track.

Pan Am Southern/Patriot Corridor

On May 15, 2008, NS announced that it would join with Pan Am Railways to create the "Patriot Corridor", an improved rail route between Albany, New York, and the greater Boston, Massachusetts, area.[16][17][18] On March 12, 2009, STB approved the deal.[19] Each of the two companies now owns 50% of a new company known as Pan Am Southern (PAS). PAR's trackage between Ayer, Massachusetts, and Mechanicville, New York, was transferred to PAS, and continues to be operated and maintained by PAR's Springfield Terminal Railway Company subsidiary. NS transferred to PAS cash and property valued at $140 million.

Planned improvements to the route include upgrades to tracks and signals and new automotive and intermodal terminals. The NS railroad is one of the most hard-core railroads in the US.

Yards and facilities

NS Croxton NJIT Intermodal Terminal jeh
Norfolk Southern yard in Croxton, New Jersey near Jersey City, New Jersey

Largely an eastern U.S. railway, NS directly owns and operates 35,600 miles (57,300 kilometers) of track in 22 states. It operates four primary hubs in its system: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Chicago, and Atlanta and maintains facilities across the Eastern US to facilitate operations, including rail classification yards, intermodal yards, and locomotive shops

NS has rights to operate its trains with its own crews on competing railroads' tracks. These trackage rights permit NS to operate as far west as Dallas, Texas on BNSF Railway tracks, as far north as Waterville, Maine, and as far south as Miami, Florida on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks. NS locomotives also occasionally operate on competitors' tracks throughout the U.S. and Canada due to the practice of locomotive leasing and sharing undertaken by the Class I railroads. Not including second, third, and fourth main line trackage, yards, and sidings, NS directly operates 19,420 miles (31,250 kilometres) of track. In addition, NS has direct control over approximately 35,600 miles (57,300 kilometers).

General Freight Classification Yards

Intermodal classification yards

  • Atlanta, GA - Inman Yard
  • Austell, GA (Whitaker)
  • Ayer, MA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Bethlehem, PA
  • Buffalo, NY - Bison Yard
  • Bluefield, WV
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chesapeake, VA – Portlock
  • Chicago, IL – 47th Street
  • Chicago, IL – 63rd Street
  • Chicago, IL – Calumet
  • Chicago, IL – Landers
  • Cincinnati, OH – Gest Street
  • Collierville, TN – Rossville (Memphis)
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX – KCS
  • Decatur, IL
  • Detroit, MI – Delray
  • Detroit, MI – Livernois
  • Elizabeth, NJ – Elizabeth Marine Terminal
  • Elizabeth, NJ – E-Rail
  • Front Royal, VA
  • Garden City, GA – Garden City Marine Terminal (Savannah)
  • Georgetown, KY
  • Greencastle, PA – Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Greer, SC – South Carolina Inland Port
  • Harrisburg, PA – Harrisburg Intermodal Yard
  • Harrisburg, PA – Rutherford Intermodal Yard
  • Huntsville, AL
  • Jacksonville, FL - Simpson Yard
  • Jersey City, NJ - Croxton Yard
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Langhorne, PA - Morrisville Yard
  • Louisville, KY – Appliance Park
  • Louisville, KY – Buechel
  • Maple Heights, OH (Cleveland)
  • McCalla, AL (Birmingham)
  • Mechanicville, NY (Albany)
  • Memphis, TN – Forrest Yard
  • Norfolk, VA – Norfolk International Terminals
  • North Charleston, SC (Charleston)
  • New Orleans, LA - Oliver Yard
  • Portsmouth, VA – APM Terminal
  • Rossville, TN - Rossville Intermodal Facility
  • Savannah, GA – Mason Yard ( connection to Savannah Port Terminal Railroad)
  • Sharonville, OH (Cincinnati)
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Taylor, PA (Scranton)
  • Toledo, OH - Airline Yard
  • Wall, PA (Pittsburgh)


Locomotive shops

Juniata Shops at Altoona Works
  • Altoona, PA – Altoona Works
  • Bellevue, OH
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Conway, PA – Conway Yard
  • Elkhart, IN
  • Harrisburg, PA – Enola Yard
  • Roanoke, VA – Shaffer's Crossing Locomotive Shop
  • Roanoke, VA – Roanoke Locomotive Shop

NS also shares interest with CSX in the Oak Island Yard, managed by Conrail Shared Assets Operations in Newark, New Jersey.

Environmental record

On January 6, 2005, a NS derailment resulted in a large amount of chlorine and diesel fuel being released into nearby waterways in Graniteville, South Carolina. In addition, a toxic cloud covered the city resulting in the town being evacuated. Federal common carrier laws prevent railroads from refusing to transport chlorine and similar Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) commodities. Local wildlife was killed, many of the local crops and vegetation were contaminated or killed, nine human deaths were reported, and thousands were injured.[22] The company is being taken to court and being fined for violating the Clean Water Act and the Federal Superfund law. NS has spent a total of $26 million for the cleanup.[23]

In early spring of 2008, the state program manager for air quality planning in Georgia, Jimmy Johnston, had been talking to NS about voluntary upgrades to reduce the company's environmental impact. NS is upgrading 3,800 of its locomotives with new technology that is 73 percent more efficient than previous models. The new technology being put into the locomotives is making the ride more fuel efficient and reducing idle time.[24]

NS has also introduced an experimental battery-electric switcher locomotive, NS 999. This prototype locomotive was developed by Norfolk Southern, in collaboration with the United States Department of Energy, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pennsylvania State University.[25]

Locomotives and rolling stock

Paint and colors

NS's locomotives are often called "catfish" by railfans, as the stripes are said to look like catfish whiskers.[26]

The current "Horsehead" paint scheme for NS locomotives is black and white, with yellow grab irons and step-edge highlights. Locomotives feature a rearing horse decal enclosed in the "catfish" stripes on both the nose and rear, which is consistent with marketing campaigns where NS has billed itself as "The Thoroughbred of Transportation".

The first few AC44C6Ms features a special version of the Horsehead scheme, which is painted for the D.C. To A.C. Project. The others retain the regular paint job. The GE AC44C6Ms are rebuilt from GE Dash 9-40Cs.

In 1994, EMD GP59 No. 4610 was painted in predecessor Southern colors of green and white with gold trim and was a favorite of railfans.[27] The locomotive was repainted standard NS black and white in February 2012.

Norfolk Southern painted 20 new-order ES44ACs and SD70ACes in commemorative heritage paint schemes as part of NS's 30th anniversary celebration in 2012 (more info below in the "Heritage Schemes" section).

Norfolk Southern also has many locomotives painted in various versions of the Operation Lifesaver scheme.

In February 2015, Norfolk Southern unveiled restored NS 3170 in the Southern Railway "Tuxedo" paint scheme. The 3170 is a SD40, the first ordered by the Southern Railway and was retired by Norfolk Southern in 2007. In September 2015, SD45-2 1700 was unveiled wearing its original Erie Lackawanna paint. Another SD40, NS 1580, was set aside for repaint into its original Norfolk and Western paint scheme; however, as of January 2017, it has yet to be repainted.

In January 2015, the first of the state-funded "ECO Class" units – painted in a in two-tone green, white, and black paint scheme – was completed. "ECO" locomotives thus far (January 2017) include GP33ECO and SD33ECO; additionally, these units come with 'slug' types: RP-M4C (GP33ECO) and RPU6D (SD33ECO).

In November 2011, Norfolk Southern unveiled SD60E 6920 – painted in a blue, red, white and black "Honoring our Veterans" paint scheme. In March 2013, Norfolk Southern released NS SD60E 6963, which was painted in a special paint scheme for "GORAIL." In May 2015, Norfolk Southern unveiled another SD60E, number 911 – painted in a red, white, and gold, "Honoring First Responders" paint scheme.


A large majority of Norfolk Southern's locomotives come from the company's many predecessors, which include but are not limited to Norfolk and Western, Southern Railway, and Conrail. Of the engines from Norfolk and Western (NW) and Southern, many were equipped with high short hoods. Although these locomotives are aging, a significant number of 'high hoods' still remain on the roster as of January 2017. Norfolk Southern is in the process of getting rid of them by scrapping, rebuilding, or selling the many units on the roster and units that are stored.

Historically, NS has only purchased DC traction diesel locomotives, and was one of the last North American AC-traction hold-outs aside from Canadian National Railway. In September 2008, however, NS placed its first order for new AC traction locomotives: 23 GE ES44ACs, numbered 8000-8023. In the years since, NS has purchased several more ES44ACs as well as over 150 EMD SD70ACes.

Beginning in 2012, Norfolk Southern began to take delivery of several types of older EMD locomotives from various railroads and leasing companies, including 9 ex-BNSF "tri-clops" SD60Ms, 6 ex-ATSF (BNSF) SD75Ms, the remaining 12 ex-Conrail SD80MACs owned by CSX, a majority of Union Pacific's SD9043MACs, and more that 130 SD40-2s from First Union Rail, CIT Group, and Helm Leasing.

Norfolk Southern is the only railroad ever to own SD80MACs and SD90MACs simultaneously. Norfolk Southern owns all of the SD80MACs and 100 of the SD90MACs from Union Pacific. Norfolk Southern also acquired 10 SD90MACs from CIT Group in exchange for 15 MP15DCs. The SD90MACs are currently being rebuilt into SD70ACUs. The SD80MACs will eventually enter a similar rebuild program and retain their 20-710G3B engine.

Norfolk Southern has a very large program for re-cabbing locomotives. NS has its own designed "Admiral Cab," which they use on their 'standard cab' rebuilds. NS has rebuilt GP38-2s, SD40-2s, ECO units, and many more with the Admiral Cab.

Norfolk Southern locomotives
A former Southern Railway SD40-2 with a new Admiral Cab (on the left), being passed by another NS train.

In 2015, Norfolk Southern began a program to convert aging and unreliable GE Dash 8-40Cs into Dash 8.5-40CW units (NS calls them (D8.5-40CW). The few units that were upgraded included new cabs, rebuilt and modified engine, electrical upgrades and more. Due to repeated failures, the program was deemed unsuccessful in 2016, and ET44AC units were ordered to replace the un-rebuildable 8-40Cs.

General Electric Locomotive (16060095980)
A trio of GE demonstrators for the ET44AC

In 2016, NS bought 46 GE ET44AC Locomotives, also known as Tier 4 Locomotives, numbered 3600-3646. These are the first Tier 4 road engines purchased, and not immediately stored, by NS. They were purchased as the replacement for the Dash 8-40C units, many of which are retired and/or scrapped. Norfolk Southern has an order for 34 more units, due for delivery in 2017. The first order was the first order of new locomotives from NS since late 2014, when EPA Tier 4 requirements were put in place.

In 2016, Norfolk Southern began a rebuild program on the Dash 9-40C units. The rebuild involved overhaul of the engine, emissions upgrades, a new cab (featuring GE Trip Optimizer, PTC, and NS Cab Signals / Locomotive Speed Limiter), new electronics, DPU and ECP capabilities, increased weight, and an electric parking brake. Norfolk Southern plans on rebuilding all of the Dash 9-40Cs (Tophats) and some of the Dash 9-40CWs. The new locomotives are being classified as GE AC44C6M.

NS Loco No.9903

NS #9903 GE C40-9W along with two other units head west from NS Elkhart Yard

NS Loco No.8372

NS 39J lead unit NS #8372 GE C40-8W with 5 others are late leaving Kalamazoo due to weather and delays from Amtrak

NS Loco No.3524

NS #3524 GE B32-8 at NS Hinman Yard

NS Loco No 3067

NS #3067 GP40-2 with it new paint scheme sits in the snow at Botford Yard

NS5333 DoverDE

A NS GP38-2 in Dover, Delaware, with depot in background

Southern Railway train

SOU 4610 working train GD01 in Dalton, Georgia, on January 19, 2006

Norfolk Southern GP38 5610

A NS GP38-2 running long hood forward through Ridgewood, New Jersey, on NS H07 the reverse H8K on the Southern Tier and NJ Transit Main Line on March 1, 2008


A GP50 approaches Graham Junction in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 22, 2005

NS 8921 GE C40-9W

A GE C40-9W leads a train on October 12, 2008

Norfolk Southern Railway locomotive

Front view

Heritage fleet

ES44AC nickel plate
ES44AC 8100 in Nickel Plate Road colors
The Southern Unit arrives in Grand Rapids (9082680832)
ES44AC 8099 in Southern Railway colors

In the first half of 2012, Norfolk Southern painted 10 EMD SD70ACes and 10 GE ES44ACs as special heritage units, each bearing the paint schemes and markings of the various predecessor railroads of Norfolk Southern and Conrail. On July 1–3, 2012, all 20 units gathered together at the North Carolina Transportation Museum at Spencer, North Carolina, as the highlight of NS's 30th-anniversary celebration. The locomotives have since traveled throughout the United States on various Class I railroads as run-through pool power, attracting much attention from railfans.[28][29][30][31][32]

The Heritage Units include:[32]

Steam excursion programs

After the 1982 merger, NS President Robert Claytor retained the Southern Railway's steam excursion program begun in the 1960s by his brother, SOU president W. Graham Claytor. NS initially used former Chesapeake and Ohio 2716, which had been modified and decorated as a Southern locomotive for the steam program; however the engine developed with mechanical problems in her fire box after less than a year in excursion service and was replaced by Nickel Plate 765.[33]

Merging with the Norfolk & Western Railway prompted the steam program to acquire and overhaul Norfolk & Western 611 in 1982, and Norfolk & Western 1218 in 1987.[33] These two locomotives and 765 joined the steam program veterans – Southern Railway 4501, Savannah and Atlanta Railway 750, Nickel Plate 587, Louisville & Nashville 152, Atlanta and West Point 290, Tennessee Valley Railroad 610, and Frisco 1522 – for an extensive series of excursions throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s.[33]

Norfolk Southern's management under David R. Goode was forced to end the program in late 1994 citing safety concerns, rising insurance costs, the expense of maintaining the steam locomotives, and decreasing rail network availability due to a surge in freight traffic.[34] On December 3, 1994, the 611 became the last steam locomotive running on Norfolk Southern's trackage, running her last steam-powered excursion round-trip between Birmingham, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee. After that, the 611 went on a three-day ferry move from Birmingham to Roanoke, Virginia.[35] She stopped at Atlanta, Georgia for the night on December 5 and next to Salisbury, NC the next day on December 6.[35] Finally, the 611 departed Salisbury and continued her final trip.[35] When the locomotive arrived back in Roanoke, 611 had its fire put out for the last time.[35]

In June 2010, Norfolk Southern that announced they would run excursions with Southern Railway 4501, Southern Railway 630, and U.S. Army 610 with their new 21st Century Steam program.[36]

The program began in 2011 with excursions in the south powered by 630 and in the north by 765.[37] On February 22, 2013, the Virginia Museum of Transportation (611's owner) formed a campaign called "Fire Up 611!" to conduct a feasibility study with the goal of returning the 611 to active service and have it join the program.[38] The locomotive was removed from her static display from the Virginia Museum of Transportation to the North Carolina Transportation Museum in 2014 to be overhauled. That same year, TVRM completed their restoration of Southern Railway 4501 – joining the 21st Century Steam program for the 2015 season and pulling excursions in Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia. The restoration of 611 was completed in May 2015 and celebrated with a run to Roanoke, Virginia, where it was originally built. The 611 pulled several excursions in Virginia and was featured in special events at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. In December 2015, Norfolk Southern had concluded their program; however, the 611 continued to run various excursions, hosted by the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the North Carolina Transportation Museum instead of Norfolk Southern across the NS system in Virginia and North Carolina.[39] Norfolk Southern currently limits the steam locomotives up to 40 mph (64 km/h) on their system.

Rolling stock

2018 NS Rolling Stock
Type Owned Leased Total Total Capacity (Tons)
Gondola 24,768 4,048 28,816 3,205,609
Hopper 11,001 0 11,001 1,244,016
Covered hopper 8,323 85 8,408 932,767
Box 7,125 1,251 8,376 726,694
Flat 1,685 1,608 3,293 312,537
Other 1,597 4 1,601 73,203
Total 54,499 6,996 61,495 6,494,826


Reporting marks

Although it has been widely known as simply "Norfolk Southern" since 1982, the corporate structure and reporting marks are more complicated. In 1999, when most of Conrail's former PRR trackage was sold to the Norfolk Southern Railway, the Pennsylvania Railway Lines was created and PRR reporting marks used on the former Conrail motive power and rolling stock.

Television commercials

On September 3, 2007, NS launched a television ad featuring a family of gas cans trekking to meet a NS train, meant to underscore the railroad's role in reducing highway congestion. Shot in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, it features the song "You Don't Need Me" written and performed for NS by Ravi Krishnaswami of New York and Steve Kolander of Atlanta.[41] On National Train Day in May 2013, NS premiered a new ad series, using music adapted from "Conjunction Junction" from ABC's School House Rock series and showing an overhead view of Inman Rail Yard in Atlanta.[42][43]

Awards and recognition

From 1989 to 2012, NS won the Gold (first-place) E.H. Harriman Award in Group A (line-haul railroads whose employees worked 15 million employee-hours or more) every single year.[44] The award, which recognized the railroads with the lowest casualty rates per 200,000 employee-hours, was discontinued in 2012.[45]

In January 2011, NS Chairman and CEO Wick Moorman was named Railroader of the Year by Railway Age magazine.[46]

George Vandergriff, along with Wick Moorman, were two of the honorary inductees of the inaugural NS Hall of Fame class.

See also

Improvement projects

Cultural references

Trade unions


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  2. ^ a b "NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP 2014 Q1 Quarterly Report Form (10-Q)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. April 23, 2014.
  3. ^ AAR reporting marks Wikipedia article
  4. ^ "About NS". Norfolk Southern Corporation. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  5. ^ "System Overview". Norfolk Southern. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Federal Railway Companies". Canadian Transportation Agency. Archived from the original on April 30, 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  7. ^ 2015 Annual Report. Norfolk, VA: Norfolk Southern Corp. 2016. p. K9.
  8. ^ "Norfolk Southern". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  9. ^ "Norfolk Southern officially announces new Atlanta headquarters". SaportaReport. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  10. ^ a b "John P. Fishwick, Harrison 'Buzz' Price, Frank Ryan die". 2010-08-22. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  11. ^ "Norfolk Southern Building Has Engraving Error", Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 12, 1982, Pg 12
  12. ^ "A Line in Time". The NS Story. Norfolk Southern Corporation. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Norfolk Southern merger family tree". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing Co. 2 June 2006. Retrieved 14 January 2009.
  14. ^ Borney, Nathan (April 11, 2016). "Canadian Pacific ends attempt to take over Norfolk Southern". USA Today. Archived from the original on March 24, 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  15. ^ Norfolk Southern Corporation (May 10, 2013). "Norfolk Southern Names Six to Senior Management Positions" (Press release). Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  16. ^ "Pan Am Railways and Norfolk Southern Create the Patriot Corridor to Improve Rail Service and Expand Capacity in New York and New England" (Press release). Norfolk Southern Corp. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
  17. ^ Norfolk Southern Railway and Pan Am Railways (2008-05-16). "Introducing the Patriot Corridor" (PDF). Norfolk Southern Corp. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  18. ^ "2 railroad freight companies combine effort". AP Business News. Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Associated Press. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  19. ^ "US Board Approves Joint Ownership of Pan Am Southern LLC". CNN Money. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  20. ^ Large Sign (Billboard) erected by NS at entrance to the yard "SPENCER YARD.
  21. ^ "Norfolk Southern Intermodal". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  22. ^ "Railroad accused of water pollution in SC wreck". The Times and Democrat. Associated Press. April 24, 2008. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  23. ^ Fretwell, Sammy (April 25, 2008). "Feds sue railroad in Graniteville disaster". The State. Archived from the original on 2008-04-26.
  24. ^ "New limits on trains could help Macon's air" Archived 2008-04-11 at the Wayback Machine, Macon Telegraph, April 9, 2008. Accessed May 6, 2008.
  25. ^ "Batteries ARE included: Norfolk Southern unveils experimental electric locomotive | Norfolk Southern – The Thoroughbred of Transportation | Creating green jobs shipping freight by rail". 2009-09-28. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  26. ^ Borkowski (2008), p. 151.
  27. ^ Borkowski (2008), pp. 155-156.
  28. ^ "Norfolk Southern to debut heritage fleet - TRAINS Magazine". 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  29. ^ "Norfolk Southern celebrates colorful heritage with historic paint schemes | Norfolk Southern – The Thoroughbred of Transportation | Creating green jobs shipping freight by rail". 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  30. ^ "NS Diesel Locomotive Roster - GE ES44AC (ES-44AC) Nos. 8000-8115". 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  31. ^ "NS EMD SD70ACe Order Rolling Out in Heritage Schemes… | Eastern Railroad News Online Magazine". 2012-05-09. Archived from the original on 2012-05-13. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  32. ^ a b "Norfolk Southern's Heritage Locomotives". Norfolk Southern. Archived from the original on July 28, 2017. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  33. ^ a b c Craft, John. "Locomotives Used on Southern Railway Steam Specials, NS Steam Specials, and operated on SR/N&W/NS 1964-1994" (PDF). Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  34. ^ Phillips, Don (October 29, 1994). "Norfolk Southern plans to end nostalgic steam locomotive program". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 7, 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  35. ^ a b c d Wrinn (2000), pp. 102–105.
  36. ^ "NS Eyes Launch of Steam Excursion Program". Akron Railroad Club. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  37. ^ "The 21st Century Steam Program: 2011-2015". Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  38. ^ Claytor, Preston. "Fire Up 611". Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  39. ^ Gunnioe, Chase (December 22, 2015). "NS steam operations to focus exclusively on No. 611 next season". Trains. Archived from the original on February 10, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  40. ^ "2013 Form 10-K". Norfolk Southern Corp. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  41. ^ "Norfolk Southern – The Thoroughbred of Transportation | Creating green jobs shipping freight by rail". Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  42. ^ "Norfolk Southern - What's Your Function?". Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  43. ^ Norfolk Southern to rock National Train Day Railroad rolls out trains, family fun, and a new twist on an old classic | Norfolk Southern – The Thoroughbred of Transportation | Creating green jobs shipping freight by rail. (2013-05-09). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  44. ^ "Media Contacts". Norfolk Southern. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  45. ^ "Rail News - AAR names winners of E.H. Harriman, Harold F. Hammond safety awards. For Railroad Career Professionals". Progressive Railroading. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  46. ^ Vantuono, William C., "Wick Moorman Norfolk Southern produces champion", Railway Age, January 2011


  • Borkowski, Richard (2008). Norfolk Southern Railway. MBI Railroad Color History (1st ed.). Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-3249-8.
  • Wrinn, Jim (2000). Steam's Camelot: Southern and Norfolk Southern Excursions in Color (1st ed.). TLC Publishing. ISBN 1-883089-56-5.

Further reading

  • Plant, Jeremy F.; Plant, Brian D. (2013). Norfolk Southern Heritage in Color (1st ed.). Morning Sun Books. ISBN 978-1582484044.

External links

Aberdeen, Carolina and Western Railway

The Aberdeen, Carolina and Western Railway (reporting mark ACWR) is a short-line railroad running from Aberdeen to Star, North Carolina. It was incorporated in 1987 and operates on a former Norfolk Southern Railway branch line. It also leases track from Norfolk Southern between Charlotte and Gulf, North Carolina. It serves approximately 18 industries, mainly dealing in forest and agricultural products.

Belt Railway of Chicago

The Belt Railway Company of Chicago (reporting mark BRC), headquartered in Bedford Park, IL, is the largest switching terminal railroad in the United States. It is co-owned by six Class I railroads — BNSF Railway, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad — each of which uses the switching and interchange facilities of the BRC. Owner lines and other railroads bring their trains to the Belt Railway to be separated, classified, and re-blocked into new trains for departure. The BRC also provides rail terminal services to approximately 100 local manufacturing industries. The company employs about 440 people, including its own police force and fire department. Its president is currently Michael J. Grace.

Carolina Coastal Railway

Carolina Coastal Railway (reporting mark CLNA) is a shortline railroad that operates several lines in North Carolina and one line in South Carolina.

Carolina and Northwestern Railway

The Carolina & Northwestern Railway (Ca&NW) was a railroad that served South Carolina and North Carolina from 1897 until January 1, 1974. The original line was operated by the Ca&NW as a separate railroad controlled by the Southern Railway until 1974 when the name was changed to the Norfolk Southern Railway. On June 1, 1982, Southern Railway and Norfolk and Western Railroad merged to form Norfolk Southern Railway. Choosing to use the name 'Norfolk Southern Railway' for the merger, in 1981, the original Ca&NW line along with original Norfolk Southern Railway was renamed Carolina and Northwestern once again. In the early 1950s several shortline subsidiaries of the Southern Railway were leased to the Ca&NW for operation, with these lines remaining a part of the Ca&NW into the 1980s.

Central New York Railroad

The Central New York Railroad (reporting mark CNYK) is a shortline railroad operating local freight service along ex-Southern Tier Line trackage (ex-Erie Railroad/Erie Lackawanna Railway mainline trackage) in the U.S. states of New York and Pennsylvania. The line begins at Port Jervis, following the West Branch Delaware River to Deposit and the Susquehanna River from Lanesboro, where it crosses the Starrucca Viaduct, to Binghamton. It is a subsidiary of the Delaware Otsego Corporation, which also owns the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway, operator of through trains over the line (along with the Norfolk Southern Railway, lessor).

Chesapeake and Albemarle Railroad

The Chesapeake and Albemarle Railroad (reporting mark CA) is a short-line railroad that operates 68 miles (109 km) of track from Chesapeake, Virginia to Edenton, North Carolina.

The railroad was originally part of the Norfolk Southern Railroad, which continued south, crossing the Albemarle Sound and on to Mackeys Ferry and Plymouth. The current railroad began operations in 1990, was acquired by RailAmerica in 2000, and subsequently acquired by the Genesee & Wyoming.

C&A interchanges with both Norfolk Southern Railway, CSX Transportation, and the Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad.

The railroad's traffic comes mainly from stone and chemical products. The CA hauled around 3,300 carloads in 2008.The railroad was fined around $15,100 for a spill of diesel fuel in August 2010 after a derailment on 26 March 2010 spilled around 1,000 US gallons (3,800 l) of fuel into the Intracoastal Waterway.


Conrail (formally the Consolidated Rail Corporation, with reporting mark CR) was the primary Class I railroad in the Northeastern United States between 1976 and 1999. The trade name Conrail is a portmanteau based on the company's legal name, and while it no longer operates trains it continues to do business as an asset management and network services provider in three Shared Assets Areas that were excluded from the division of its operations during its acquisition by CSX Corporation and the Norfolk Southern Railway.

The Federal Government created Conrail to take over the potentially-profitable lines of multiple bankrupt carriers, including the Penn Central Transportation Company and Erie Lackawanna Railway. After railroad regulations were lifted by the 4R Act and the Staggers Act, Conrail began to turn a profit in the 1980s and was privatized in 1987. The two remaining Class I railroads in the East, CSX Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railway (NS), agreed in 1997 to acquire the system and split it into two roughly-equal parts (alongside three residual shared-assets areas), returning rail freight competition to the Northeast by essentially undoing the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad that created Penn Central. Following approval by the Surface Transportation Board, CSX and NS took control in August 1998, and on June 1, 1999 began operating their respective portions of Conrail.

The old company remains a jointly-owned subsidiary, with CSX and NS owning respectively 42 percent and 58 percent of its stock, corresponding to how much of Conrail's assets they acquired. Each parent, however, has an equal voting interest. The primary asset retained by Conrail is ownership of the three Shared Assets Areas in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Detroit. Both CSX and NS have the right to serve all shippers in these areas, paying Conrail for the cost of maintaining and improving trackage. They also make use of Conrail to perform switching and terminal services within the areas, but not as a common carrier, since contracts are signed between shippers and CSX or NS. Conrail also retains various support facilities including maintenance-of-way and training, as well as a 51 percent share in the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad.

Delmarva Central Railroad

The Delmarva Central Railroad (reporting mark DCR) is an American short-line railroad owned by Carload Express that operates 188 miles (303 km) of track on the Delmarva Peninsula in the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The railroad operates lines from Porter, Delaware to Hallwood, Virginia and from Harrington, Delaware to Frankford, Delaware along with several smaller branches. The DCR interchanges with the Norfolk Southern Railway and the Maryland and Delaware Railroad. The railroad was created in 2016 to take over the Norfolk Southern Railway lines on the Delmarva Peninsula. The DCR expanded by taking over part of the Bay Coast Railroad in 2018 and the Delaware Coast Line Railroad in 2019.

GE Dash 9-40C

The GE Dash 9-40C, also called a C40-9, was a 4,000-horsepower (3,000 kW) diesel locomotive that was built by GE Transportation Systems of Erie, Pennsylvania, between January 1995 and March 1995. The C40-9 was equipped with the 16-cylinder 7FDL-16 prime mover which is rated at a lower power than the 4,400 hp (3,300 kW) GE Dash 9-44CW that debuted a year earlier in 1994. It featured GE's direct current B13B traction motors.The C40-9 featured the standard cab design and was the only model in the Dash-9 series to do so. It is essentially identical to the wide-cab C40-9W model otherwise. All units had rooftop-mounted air conditioner units which gave them their distinct "top hat" look.

Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) was the only operator of this model. The company owns 125 units, numbered 8764–8888. NS specifically requested the standard cab and may have purchased more units had the Federal Railroad Administration not required it to purchase the wide-cab C40-9W version instead.

Georgia Southern and Florida Railway

The Georgia Southern and Florida Railway (reporting mark GSF), also known as the Suwanee River Route from its crossing of the Suwanee River, was founded in 1885 as the Georgia Southern and Florida Railroad and began operations between Macon, GA and Valdosta, GA in 1889, extending to Palatka, FL in 1890. The railroad went bankrupt by 1891, was reorganized as the Georgia Southern and Florida Railway in 1895, and was mostly under the control of the Southern Railway.

In 1902, the GS&F purchased a line from the Atlantic, Valdosta and Western Railway that ran from Valdosta, GA to Jacksonville, FL. The GS&F also owned the Macon and Birmingham Railway and the Hawkinsville and Florida Southern Railway, both of which were operated as separate companies; both ended up going bankrupt and being mostly abandoned. The GS&F was eventually acquired by the Norfolk Southern Railway and still operates as a subsidiary. As of November 2012, at least one operating Norfolk Southern locomotive retains GSF reporting marks.

Harrisburg Line

The Harrisburg Line is a rail line owned and operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) in the U.S. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The line runs from Philadelphia west to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Harrisburg Line was formed the day Conrail began operations, April 1, 1976. However, all trackage of the line has been established way before the line’s establishment as the rail line was once represented as two rail lines, the Reading Company main line and the Lebanon Valley Branch. Both rail lines which is now the single Harrisburg Line rail line were owned by the Reading Company.

Today, the Harrisburg Line is owned by Norfolk Southern Railway under their Harrisburg Division. The Harrisburg Line runs through two tunnels, the Flat Rock Tunnel and the Black Rock Tunnel.

Kanawha River Railroad

The Kanawha River Railroad (reporting mark KNWA) is a common-carrier railroad in the United States. A subsidiary of Watco Transportation Services, the company leases 309 miles of track in the US states of Ohio and West Virginia from the Class I Norfolk Southern Railway.

Kendallville Terminal Railway

The Kendallville Terminal Railway (reporting marks KTR) is a Class III common carrier owned by Pioneer Railcorp, in Northern Indiana. The line runs for 1.1 miles in Kendallville, Indiana and also connects with Norfolk Southern Railway in Kendallville. The main products shipped on the line include sugar and syrup.

Luxapalila Valley Railroad

The Luxapalila Valley Railroad (reporting mark LXVR) is a 38-mile short line freight railroad that operates between Columbus, Mississippi, and Belk, Alabama. The LXVR interchanges with the Columbus & Greenville, Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern. Commodities transported include forest products and waste products.

The LXVR was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming in 2008.

Norfolk Southern Railway (1942–1982)

The Norfolk Southern Railway (reporting mark NS) was the final name of a railroad that ran from Norfolk, Virginia, southwest and west to Charlotte, North Carolina. It was acquired by the Southern Railway in 1974, which merged with the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1982 to form the current Norfolk Southern Railway.

In May 1920, the NS leased the Durham and South Carolina Railroad, which became its Durham branch. This would be the largest the NS would become a route of 942 miles (1,516 km). At the end of 1970, it operated 624 miles (1,004 km) of road on 801 miles (1,289 km) of track; that year it reported 710 million ton-miles of revenue freight.

Norfolk and Western Railway

The Norfolk and Western Railway (reporting mark N&W) was a US class I railroad, formed by more than 200 railroad mergers between 1838 and 1982. It was headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, for most of its existence. Its motto was "Precision Transportation"; it had a variety of nicknames, including "King Coal" and "British Railway of America" even though the N&W had mostly articulated steam on its roster. During the Civil War, the N&W was the biggest railroad in the south and moved most of the products with their steam locomotives to help the South the best way they could.

The N&W was famous for manufacturing its own steam locomotives, which were built at the Roanoke Shops, as well as its own hopper cars. In 1960, N&W became the last major class I railroad using steam locomotives; the last remaining Y class 2-8-8-2s would not be retired until 1964 and 1965. By 1965, steam on class I railroads was gone but steam wasn't gone on class II railroads until 1974 and class III and mining railroads did not retire their steam locomotives from their active roster until 1983. By 1983, steam in America on class I, II, III, and mining railroads had finally closed the chapter on America's 150 years of steam from 1830 - 1983.

In December 1959, the N&W merged with the Virginian Railway (reporting mark VGN), a longtime rival in the Pocahontas coal region. By 1970, other mergers with the Nickel Plate Road and Wabash formed a system that operated 7,595 miles (12,223 km) of road on 14,881 miles (23,949 km) of track from North Carolina to New York and from Virginia to Iowa.

In 1980, the N&W teamed with the Southern Railway, another profitable carrier and created the Norfolk Southern Corporation holding company by merging its business operations with the business operations of the Southern Railway. The N&W and the Southern Railway continued as separate railroads now under one holding company.

On June 1, 1982, the Southern Railway was renamed "Norfolk Southern Railway" to reflect the Norfolk Southern Corporation and on the same day, the renamed Norfolk Southern Railway gained full control of the Norfolk and Western Railway with the Norfolk and Western being transferred from the holding company to the renamed Norfolk Southern Railway, this began the final years of Norfolk and Western which was absorbed into the renamed Norfolk Southern Railway seven years later in 1997 (1982 to 1997 the Norfolk and Western continued operating by using paper operations).

In 1997 during the Conrail battle with CSX, Norfolk Southern Corporation's principal railroad, the renamed Norfolk Southern Railway, absorbed the Norfolk and Western Railway into their rail system, ending the existence of the Norfolk and Western Railway and having the renamed Norfolk Southern Railway becoming the only railroad in the entire Norfolk Southern system after that.

North Carolina Railroad

The North Carolina Railroad (reporting mark NCRR) is a 317-mile (510 km) state-owned rail corridor extending from Morehead City, North Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina. The railroad carries over seventy freight trains offered by the Norfolk Southern Railway and eight passenger trains (Amtrak's Carolinian and Piedmont) daily. It is managed by the North Carolina Railroad Company.

Southern Railway (U.S.)

The Southern Railway (reporting mark SOU) (also known as Southern Railway Company and now known as the current incarnation of the Norfolk Southern Railway) is a name of a class 1 railroad that was based in the Southern United States. The railroad is the product of nearly 150 predecessor lines that were combined, reorganized and recombined beginning in the 1830s, formally becoming the Southern Railway in 1894.At the end of 1971, the Southern operated 6,026 miles (9,698 km) of railroad, not including its Class I subsidiaries Alabama Great Southern (528 miles or 850 km) Central Of Georgia (1729 miles) Savannah & Atlanta (167 miles) Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway (415 miles) Georgia Southern & Florida (454 miles) and twelve Class II subsidiaries. That year, the Southern itself reported 26111 million net ton-miles of revenue freight and 110 million passenger-miles; Alabama Great Southern reported 3854 and 11, Central Of Georgia 3595 and 17, Savannah & Atlanta 140 and 0, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway 4906 and 0.3, and Georgia Southern & Florida 1431 and 0.3.

The railroad joined forces with the Norfolk and Western Railway (N&W) in 1982 to form the Norfolk Southern Corporation. The Norfolk Southern Corporation was created in response to the creation of the CSX Corporation (its rail system was later transformed to CSX Transportation in 1986). Southern and N&W continued as operating companies of Norfolk Southern until 1982, when Norfolk Southern merged nearly all of N&W's operations into Southern to form the Norfolk Southern Railway. The railroad has used that name since, though N&W continued to exist on paper until 1982.

Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway (1990)

The Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway (reporting mark WE) is a Class II regional railroad that provides freight service, mainly in the U.S. state of Ohio. It took its name from the former Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway, most of which it bought from the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1990.

Class I railroads of North America
Common freight carriers
Private carriers
Class II and III Railways


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