What has NS been up to recently and this past year? We’ll discuss in this blog Norfolk Southern Railroad’s Latest News.
NS Derailment, Moorman Hump Opened, Profits Up:
October 8, 2022, NS had a tank train derailemt full of wax near the Columbus Ave. bridge, in dowtown Sandusky, OH. Both NS Mains on their Chicago Line were out of service, and Amtrak had to reroute & combine various trains (Sunset & Capitol) south of Sandusky, through Fremont, Clyde, Bellevue, etc. on their NS Toledo District. NS had the mains back in service about a day or so later. NS also has reopened their new hump at Moorman Yard in Bellevue, OH. Main facilities however have been closed since their last update of the terminal. NS continues to run more freight with increased profits.
NS Profits, More Updates to Come:
NS had another great quarter in profits, which they credit to their continued PSR service. They have plans to run more longer trains, replace more rail and crossties, increase lengths of some sidings in VA, OH, and GA, replace and update bridges across the system, and more. NS believes investing in the plant helps the overall strength and profits of the railroad. Revisit our blog for more updates.
NS & CP Talk About NS’s Fostoria & Chicago Districts:
Recently NS and CP held talks about CP possibly purchasing NS’s Fostoria and Chicago Districts, from NS’s Great Lakes Division, that connects Chicago, IL to possibly past Cleveland, OH.
NS Pan Am Southern Acquisition; Stock; UP:
CSX and NS have worked out a deal to split Pan Am Southern, in order for both railroads to get another route into Boston, MA. NS stock still up, and NS has hired an ex-UP exec. to help NS gather more traffic, since traffic has declined within the past year or so, due to the pandemic and the economy (even before the pandemic hit). Update: CSX to take over Pan Am Southern, with NS having trackage rights into Boston, MA. As of 6/2021, STB rejected CSX’s plan to purchase Pan Am Southern, with Amtrak also protesting the take over.
More Changes at NS:
NS talks of closing down more of their Bellevue, OH Terminal- Moorman Yard, with shops closing. NS to close and take up their part of Buckeye Yard, in Columbus/Hilliard, OH. Buckeye was built by Penn Central to help offset the congestion and clearance restrictions with their ex-PRR Columbus, OH yards. A piece of history on the brink. Presently CSX own and uses a few tracks from that yard. Stock still high, however traffic is down 40-45%. How long can the money last? This is the reason for the cuts throughout their system. As of 12/2020, NS to close their loco shops at their Bellevue, OH Moorman Yard. NS now to see what CSX will be doing with their plans of aquiring Pan Am Southern- a railroad NS had invested in.
NS Moving Ahead:
Work has finished with new switches, ties, and roadbed work in NS’s Blair Yard- Fostoria, OH. They’ve made these updates to help with additional capacity with industry in town. NS is to retire more standard cab locomotives from their fleet. Get your photos while you can. NS stock is still high, even with about a reduction of 40% in traffic capacity.
NS Fostoria, OH Updates:
NS has been rebuilding track in their Fostoria, OH Blair Yard, which includes new ties, rail, and switches. Looks like they’ll be using Blair more, due to new/expanded industry SW of town.
More NS Changes:
NS will have a new COO in September, who will help with their profit planning. Executives were riding and inspecting their lines, using their Heritage Unit SD70ACE Penn Central 1073. They are still downgrading their Bellevue, OH Moorman Yard, and concentrating on other busier locations, such as Toledo, Cleveland, and Elkhart. NS is also purchasing Pan Am Southern, to expand routes to Boston. NS stock over $200 a share. Is rail traffic picking up? It seems to have its up and downs. The US economy will only tell.
NS Downgrades Bellevue Terminal:
In the midst of a slowing economy and lower traffic demands, NS will be downgrading their Bellevue, OH Morman Yard facility. This includes closing both humps (only after 5 years of the 2nd expansion of building the 2nd hump), going to flat switching, and moving most of the switching to their Toledo Airline and Cleveland, OH yards.
NS Axes Oil Trains:
CSX has outbid NS with contracts for oil trains. CSX will now gain all of NS’s oil trains. NS will still be delivering ethanol however. The oil market downfalls may be NS’s reason.
New for 2020:
NS has plans of downsizing their double main to single main track on their line from Mansfield to Alliance, OH to cut costs. NS presently own the line from Crestline, OH through Pittsburgh, PA, called NS’s Ft. Wayne Line-Pittsburgh Div. (CSX owns the line from Crestline, OH to Ft. Wayne, IN, called CSX Ft. Wayne Line/Ft. Wayne Secondary Subdiv.-Chicago Div., & CF&E leases the track on the CSX side). This was the ex-PRR Ft. Wayne Line, later PC Ft. Wayne Division (Pittsburgh to Chicago Main Line), & CR Pittsburgh Division-Ft. Wayne Line. NS Has also listed more locomotives to sell.
NS has been making major cuts to save on costs. They will be closing their Roanoke Loco Shops, and moving everything to their Altoona Shops. They’ve also been retiring many locomotives, including EMD SD40Ms, SD40-2s, and a pair of their F units. They will be scrapping some rebuild projects, and continuing 400 GE rebuilds- with GE doing 200, and the other 200 by NS at Altoona. They also have plans of selling off more trackage in order to save on costs. NS, like most of the other roads will be focusing more on intermodal traffic, in order to compete more with the trucking industry, since coal traffic has been down 40%+/- overall (due to power plant companies switching to cheaper natural gas, etc.). Mergers in the forecast? Some say no, some say we’ll see- history has shown when the industry is scraping by, mergers tend to follow…
NS Woes & Improvements:
NS had a derailment in PA recently. NS stock still over $100 a share, continues to implement Precision Railroading. NS has put their NS F units in storage. They will most likely repaint all Heritage units to black once they need repainted. NS concentrating more on making money.
NS Continues its Precision Railroading:
NS has adopted similar Precision Railroading tactics in order to cut costs, and to make more profits- similar to what CSX is doing, since the days of Hunter Harrison. This is also due to requests by NS’s stock holders. NS has moved all of their dispatchers to Atlanta, GA, combined trains, and recently has laid off workers at their Juniata Shops. Since NS has combined trains, they have been using less locomotives, and their number of locomotives needing maintenance has decreased.
NS on the Move:
Since the merger talks which have stopped, NS has been busy making more money. As of May of 2019, NS’s stock has gone over $200/share. Yes, over $200- they must be doing something right. NS has always followed an efficient way of running a railroad (not counting the 1999 CR breakup with CSX, which caused high congestion and other problems, which they finally got through). NS has also gone more toward flat switching- something CSX has been trying to do, by also closing down a lot of hump yards. Also NS is always updating their track, and have moved all dispatchers to Atlanta, GA (another thing CSX has done with Jacksonville, FL). Will NS be closing more small yards throught the system? They are looking at several options to increase efficiency.
NS Merger Talks?
NS & UP in June had a meeting with each other on possible future merger ideas. this is nothing new however. All railroads have been in future merger talks at different times in the past. They keep the future in mind, in order to prepare for any possible hard times ahead. Although traffic is up, the current North American Railroad situation has most of the railroads in a bit of trouble. From CN loosing freight, to NS shortage of power, and most of the railroads with congestion, delays, and other problems.
In February, NS had several stack containers and cars derail on their Sandusky to Columbus Line, just north of Attica, OH (papers stated Republic, OH which is nowhere near Attica!) . Their track tends to be in great shape, so weather- high winds- were most likely the cause. NS had double-tracked that main line after the Conrail split with CSX in the early 2000s, to help with increased traffic flow as a result of that split. The mainline was originally PRR, mostly single-main, with passing sidings, and was sold to N&W in 1965 (per an agreement with the ICC, before the Penn Central merger of NYC & PRR in 1968).
NS stock has continued to increase by this year’s end. Meanwhile, CSX is still having problems adjusting to the new changes CSX CEO Harrison has implemented. With his passing as of 12/2017, time will tell which route the current CEO stand-in will take for CSX.
NS moving ahead. Although coal has been diminishing due to the market demand (utilities and other facilities have been going to natural gas, since it costs less for them to use), NS has constructed a new long siding for coal trains that arrive from BNSF out West, located near Swanton, OH (on the ex-NYC/PC/CR Water Level, now NS Chicago Line, Dearborn Div.).
NS has also been expanding Fostoria, OH Mixing Center tracks for future Auto Rack switching.
NS has ordered new and have been rebuilding more GEs since earlier this year.
The most recent as of 9/2015, NS announced they will be phasing out Triple Crown roadrailers from the main tracks. they will still plan on having service with roadrailers from Detroit, MI and south, with evnetually phasing them out 100%. They will still keep the name and trailers, but most trailers will now be transported on TOFC flat cars, and no longer be mounted on railroad wheel trucks. This means the Sandusky, OH and other terminals will be closed. Get your photos while you can.
NS has been slowly phasing out these re-built 100 ton coal hoppers, and being replaced with new aluminum cars. Top Gons were from a project NS had in rebuilding many of their coal hoppers in the 1990s, mainly from their H11 and 12 hoppers. Over 2,000 cars were rebuilt in order to fill the void of coal cars they needed.
NS was having problems with congestion on a number of their lines, especially the Chicago Line on their end of the ex-Water Level Route, from Cleveland to Chicago. even tho congestion was a problem after they took over their half of conrail in 1999, as oil trains increased on the system, so did congestion. So in 2014, they leased the ex-CR Pittsburgh Division- Fort Wayne Line from CSX. This also included NS paying to have the tracks and ties rebuilt in areas needed. The towns this line runs through are Crestline, Bucyrus, Van Wert, and other towns in OH, and Fort Wayne, IN, etc.
The horse head logo started to appear within the last few years to add a small change. The logo looks more impressive as a result. This has been applied to locomotives and freight cars.
Due to a shortage of units, NS aquired wide cab units from UP, and many of them are still running around on the system still in ex-UP paint. They also aquired SD40-2s from BNSF. They have also been in the process of chopping all high-nosed EMD units that originally came from the N&W and SOU. High nose on the NS will be a thing of the past. Standard cab GE units will be converted to wide cabs in the near future as well.
A Railfan Runs The Railroad:
Even tho he has been the CEO of NS for a few years, Wick Moorman has brought back the heritage of railroading, along with turning NS into a great money-making company. They always were a profitable railroad, but he has increased NS’s value. He has also put out numerous heritage units, brought back steam train excursions, and has had countless events, such as an F and E unit display event.
As railroads progress, changes are made in order to help keep them in business. We capture things of today that will become things of the past. Those things that are now considered vintage, were once things that were modern. What a great way to preserve the changes of railroads- in Railroad Video DVDs and Audio CDs.
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