NS Works to Resolve Operating Issues in South

Norfolk Southern will spend $50 million in the first quarter of 2018 to try to speed up its freight trains.

NS Chief Marketing Office Alan Shaw told the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Industrials Conference that it has had operational issues on its Alabama and Georgia divisions.

Traffic growth and winter weather have left Norris Yard in Birmingham, Alabama, highly congested and that gridlock has resulted in trains bound for the yard having to be held in passing sidings.

Earlier this year, NS sent 55 crew members from around its network to Birmingham to help alleviate congestion on the East End District between Birmingham and Atlanta.

NS also began routing through traffic to the Central of Georgia District between Birmingham and Macon, Georgia, via Columbus. Through traffic had been removed from that route last summer.

“We are starting to see some operational improvement in the Birmingham yard and it’s a lot more fluid than it was a few weeks ago,” Shaw said. “We will get this fixed.”

NS officials said the dwell time for cars in Norris Yard has dropped to 38.5 hours from 52.7 hours three weeks ago.

However, the average NS train speed last week was 19.1 mph, a decline of 16 percent from the the first quarter of 2017.

Shaw did not say how long it would take to resolve the operational issues in the South.

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