Premier Freight Rail Transportation
Headquartered in Norfolk, Va., Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation‘s premier transportation companies.
The company’s Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles of rail in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The railroad serves every major container port in the eastern United States and offers efficient connections to other rail carriers, extending the company’s reach to the U.S. West Coast and markets across North America. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal freight network in the East and is a major transporter of automotive, coal, and industrial products.
Although most of the railroad’s customers are domestic, the ultimate points of origination or destination for many products are outside the United States. For example, some coal is transloaded onto colliers and shipped to countries in Europe, Asia, South America and elsewhere for use in steel manufacturing and electricity generation. Likewise, much of the intermodal traffic moves through ports on the East, Gulf, and West coasts, going to or coming from ports around the globe.
A publicly traded company, Norfolk Southern lists its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NSC.
Connecting Customers and Communities
Norfolk Southern trains transport raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods primarily in the Southeast, East, and Midwest.
These products are connected to virtually every aspect of daily life. They include such things as vehicles; lumber to build homes; coal for generating electricity and manufacturing steel; canned goods that stock grocery shelves; and a host of other products essential to households, businesses, and industries in the United States and across the world.
In 2013, the railroad moved 7.3 million railcars and intermodal units. The intermodal business, at 3.5 million units, accounted for nearly half of the volume.
2013 Railway Operating Revenues By Market Group
Primary Business Markets
Coal: Norfolk Southern handled 150.1 million tons of coal in 2013, most of it originating on our lines from major eastern coal basins, with the balance from major western coal basins received through interline rail partners at Memphis, Tenn., and Chicago gateways. Our coal franchise supports domestic electric generation and steelmaking; global power generation and steelmaking; and industrial markets.
Intermodal: This freight includes nearly anything found in retail stores, including appliances, clothes, beverages, and furniture. It moves in trailers, domestic and international containers, and RoadRailer® equipment, which are hybrid trailers that move over highway or rail and are operated by Norfolk Southern’s Triple Crown subsidiary to provide door-to-door service.
Chemicals: This freight includes sulfur and related chemicals; petroleum products such as crude oil; chlorine and bleaching compounds; plastics; rubber; industrial chemicals; and chemical wastes.
Agriculture, Consumer Products, and Government: This mix of freight includes soybeans, wheat, corn, fertilizer, livestock and poultry feed, food oils, flour, beverages, canned goods, sweeteners, consumer products, ethanol, transportation equipment, and items for the U.S. military.
Metals and Construction: This freight includes steel, aluminum products, machinery, scrap metals, cement, aggregates, sand, and minerals.
Automotive: This freight includes finished vehicles for BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen. It also includes auto parts for BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
Paper, Clay, and Forest Products: This freight includes lumber and wood products, pulp board and paper products, wood fibers, wood pulp, scrap paper, and clay.
Norfolk Southern Business Facts
Rail corridors with heaviest freight volume:
- New York City area to Chicago (via Allentown and Pittsburgh, Pa.)
- Chicago to Macon (via Cincinnati, Ohio, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Atlanta)
- Appalachian coal fields of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky to Norfolk, Va., and Sandusky, Ohio
- Cleveland to Kansas City
- Birmingham, Ala. to Meridian, Miss.
- Memphis to Chattanooga, Tenn.
Miles of road: 19,961
15,181 owned; 4,780 under lease, contract, or trackage rights
4,113 owned; 79 leased
Freight cars: 79,295
72,560 owned; 6,735 leased
Installed 549 track miles of rail
Surfaced 5,475 miles of track
Installed 2.5 million new track crossties
New to freight rail?
Find out more about the goods Norfolk Southern transports, where the goods go, and how we do it here.
A Line in Time
Norfolk Southern was incorporated in Virginia on
July 23, 1980. On June 1, 1982, the corporation acquired control of two major operating railroads – Norfolk and Western Railway Company and Southern Railway Company – and consolidated them to form the modern-day Norfolk Southern. While the company celebrated 30 years in 2012, our heritage dates to the earliest days of U.S. railroading – the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road, chartered in 1827.
Trace the railroad’s heritage and milestones from our beginnings with this interactive time line.
More About the Business
The following documents relating to Norfolk Southern’s business and governance principles are on our corporate website:
- Corporate Governance Guidelines
- Charters of the Committees of the Board of Directors