From members of Congress to rail partners, Norfolk Southern makes efforts to connect with communities and stakeholder groups. Below are examples of how we engaged our communities in 2013.
Searching for Sustainable Rail Solutions
For the third year, Norfolk Southern joined with industry partner GE Transportation to sponsor the Railroad Sustainability Symposium, a gathering of rail industry thought leaders, customers, suppliers, and partners to discuss best practices in sustainability.
More than 60 participants from 25 different companies convened at GE’s Crotonville Learning Center in Ossining, N.Y., to discuss new methods and technology that will continue to improve the rail industry’s overall sustainability. In 2012, Norfolk Southern hosted the event at the company’s Brosnan Forest conference facilities.
Topics for the two-day 2013 conference focused on current sustainable practices, reporting and disclosure, financial value, and future energy sources. Speakers represented organizations and companies such as the Association of American Railroads, the Environmental Defense Fund, Stella-Jones Corporation, J.B. Hunt Transport, Ford Motor Company, and Bloomberg.
Innovation and technology were focal points, particularly as rail companies, including Norfolk Southern, explore alternative locomotive energy sources such as liquid natural gas, or LNG.
GE Transportation, for example, currently is piloting LNG technology that it believes will generate 50 percent fuel savings and a 30 percent reduction in emissions of nitrous oxide and particulate matter.
“Reducing the carbon footprint of the rail industry will save our customers money while improving the communities where they work,” said Deb Frodl, global executive director of GE’s ecomagination.
“Norfolk Southern and the rail industry have come a long way on the sustainability path, but the journey continues,” said Blair Wimbush, Norfolk Southern’s vice president real estate and corporate sustainability officer. “This symposium was a great opportunity to bring together some of the best minds in sustainability to exchange innovative ideas and best practices for incorporating economical environmental practices into core business strategies.”
CEO Talks to U.S. House Panel About Role of Rail
In an April address to a federal panel in Washington, CEO Wick Moorman said America needs fair and clear long-term policies that encourage continued investment in railroad infrastructure, technology, and sustainability initiatives.
“Industries, jobs, and taxes want to go where the railroad is,” Moorman told the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Special Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation. “In the last decade, 1,021 new and expanded facilities located along Norfolk Southern rail lines, representing $28.7 billion in customer investment and generating more than 48,000 jobs. That’s just one railroad. What an incredible incentive to support railroads everywhere.”
Among the initiatives Moorman highlighted, he said Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor infrastructure improvements are creating an efficient, cost-effective freight route between the Southeast and the Northeast that can help ease traffic congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions by taking long-haul trucks off the interstates.
“Privately owned railroads are not only a barometer of the economy, but an essential element in solving this country’s freight transportation problem,” Moorman said. “We are planning for growth and investing for the future. I hope that, working with you, we all can look far ahead and do everything possible to make it happen.”
In October, Norfolk Southern’s government relations team in Washington supported the American Energy Jobs Rally on the Capitol steps. Energy producers, shippers, receivers, rail and mining labor union representatives, technologists, and others from around the country attended. Norfolk Southern showed its support as a transporter of coal, gas drilling equipment and supplies, and a number of other energy resources and products.
Norfolk Southern is a longtime sponsor of The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a partnership that promotes understanding of coal’s role as the dominant and affordable source of electricity.
Information about coal’s role in life and work in the modern world can be found at www.coalfacts.org.
Natural Setting for Rail Safety
In July, Norfolk Southern and Virginia’s Natural Tunnel State Park hosted a Railroad Day, combining railroad safety with history and the natural environment. Casey Thomason, Norfolk Southern’s staff photographer, conducted a workshop on safe, creative, and legal ways to photograph trains. An Operation Lifesaver volunteer discussed highway-rail safety and the dangers of trespassing on railroad property.
The Natural Tunnel is part of the Appalachian Mountains located in Scott County, Va. In 1890, the South Atlantic and Ohio Railroad constructed the first railroad tracks through the 850-foot tunnel. The tracks now serve as Norfolk Southern’s main line on our Central Division, connecting Knoxville, Tenn., with the coal region of Southwestern Virginia.