Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

NS Changes Some Radio Frequencies

November 12, 2016

Norfolk Southern has changed some of its radio frequencies. The Toledo East dispatcher is now on 160.815 and the Chicago East dispatcher is now on 160.620.

NS logo 2Also changing is the yardmaster at Motor Yard in Macedonia who is now on 160.875.

The frequencies for the Toledo Yard dispatcher (161.070), Cleveland Terminal dispatcher (161.070) and Chicago West dispatcher (160.800) remain unchanged.

The Toledo East dispatcher had been on 160.980 while the Chicago East dispatcher had been on the same frequency as the Toledo West dispatcher.

The dispatcher frequencies are also the road channels for those respective districts.


R&N Adds Locomotives, Hopper Cars

November 9, 2016

To accommodate new business, the Pennsylvania-based Reading & Northern Railroad has purchased new locomotives.

PennsylvaniaThe R&N said in a news release that it acquired six locomotives from a recent Norfolk Southern auction, which included four EMD MP15 locomotives and two EMD GP39RNs.

The railroad has also acquired more than 150 used steel hopper cars to handle an increase in its anthracite coal business. The R&N now has a fleet of 1,179 freight cars.

Even the passenger business at the railroad is on the rise, with ridership on its tourist trains 15 percent ahead of last year’s patron patronage of 100,000.

R&N said it has installed 15,000 crossties, 10,000 feet of new rail, and built about 10,000 feet of new sidings. Almost 90 miles of track has also been re-surfaced this year.

STB Favors Michigan Short-line Over CSX in Dispute About Trackage Rights in Grand Rapids

November 5, 2016

A Michigan short-line railroad has received approval from the Surface Transportation Board to operate on three miles of CSX track in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

STBThe STB granted a request by the Grand Elk Railroad to use the track, but left it up to a Michigan court to determine the railroad’s contractual rights before it can resume serving customers.

The decision was a rejection of a CSX bid to prohibit the Grand Elk from using the trackage rights originally granted to Norfolk Southern but which were omitted from the Grand Elk’s lease agreement with NS to operate a former Pennsylvania Railroad route from Grand Rapids to Elkhart, Indiana.

Grand Elk has been using the CSX line until it was abruptly banned last August.

Grand Elk, a Watco company, said the trackage rights over the CSX line in question were inadvertently left out of its lease agreement with NS.

“The STB gave us the green light. The decision was promising as far as it goes, but it did not rule on the assignment of rights,” said Robert A. Wimbish, Grand Elk’s attorney.

A judge in Kent County, Michigan, will determine if as a matter of state law, the assignment of trackage rights on the Grand Rapids Track from NS to Grand Elk is valid and enforceable.

NS Exec Given AAR Environmental Award

November 4, 2016

A Norfolk Southern executive has received the Association of American Railroads’ Professional Environmental Excellence Award.

NS logo 1Russ McDaniel, the NS director of environmental engineering, remediation and compliance,  was among eight railroaders nominated for what AAR describes as “the highest honor for environmental professionals in the railroad industry.”

AAR cited McDaniels for his contributions to environmental awareness at NS and throughout the industry.

At NS, McDaniel has held several engineering positions in the environmental department. He manages remediation of affected sites, compliance with air and water permits and management of storm water protection and spill preparedness plans, among other areas.

In a news release, AAR said that McDaniel and his team took on a $10 million, multi-year project to remediate a site that was home to a railcar manufacturing facility for nearly 100 years, working with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to restore 79 acres of the site for industrial use.

Return to Horseshoe Curve

October 31, 2016
A Norfolk Southern stack train with a Union Pacific unit in the motive power consist makes its way around Horseshoe Curve west of Altoona, Pennsylvania.

A Norfolk Southern stack train with a Union Pacific unit in the motive power consist makes its way around Horseshoe Curve west of Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, Pennsylvania, is one of railroadings’s most notable engineering achievements in the Eastern United States.

Opened on Feb. 15, 1854, the curve has hosted trains of the Pennsylvania, Penn Central, Conrail and now Norfolk Southern. Amtrak’s New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian traverses the curve daily.

Earlier this year NS cleared quite a bit of brush and trees from around the Curve, thus opening some view for photography.

Akron Railroad Club members Ed Ribinksas and Jeff Troutman venture to the Curve in mid October and Ed shares in this post some of his favorite images that he made that day.

Photograph by Edward Ribinskas






NS 3rd Quarter Net Income Up 2%

October 27, 2016

Third quarter net income at Norfolk Southern increased by $460 million, a rise of 2 percent, and diluted earnings per share was $1.55, up 4 percent, compared with the third quarter of 2015.

NS logo 2However, at the same time, the railroad’s operating revenue fell 7 percent to $2.5 billion compared with the same quarter of 2015 and overall traffic volume was down 4 percent to 1.9 million units.

In a news release, NS said the decline in operating revenue was due to reduced volumes and lower fuel surcharge revenue.

Nonetheless, NS outperformed the projections of Wall Street analysts that it would earn $1.45 per share, according to research conducted by Zacks Investment Research.

“Our continued focus on efficiency and asset utilization, balanced with our commitment to customer service, drove an operating ratio of 67.5 percent for the quarter and a record 68.7 percent for the first nine months, setting us well on the way to achieving productivity savings of about $250 million and an operating ratio below 70 percent for the year — even in the face of economic headwinds,” said NS Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires in a statement.

Squares said NS is positioned for growth opportunities over the longer term.

During the third quarter of 2016, NS said its general merchandise revenue dropped 10 percent to $1.6 billion compared with 2015. The company’s five merchandise commodity groups reported the following year-over-year revenue results:

• Chemicals, $408 million, down 10 percent.

• Agriculture, $380 million, even.

• Metals/construction, $337 million, up 2 percent.

• Automotive, $236 million, down 4 percent.

• Paper/forest, $191 million, down 6 percent.

Intermodal revenue fell 7 percent to $575 million with volume falling 1 percent as a result of lower volume from Triple Crown Services, which was restructured last year.

Excluding Triple Crown Services, domestic intermodal volume and international volume rose 8 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Coal revenue plunged by 18 percent to $397 million compared with the third quarter of 2015.

NS said that above-normal stockpiles and low natural gas prices combined to decrease coal volume by 15 percent.

Operating expenses fell 10 percent to $1.7 billion primarily due to cost-cutting initiatives, lower fuel expenses, the absence of last year’s restructuring costs, and gains from the disposition of operating property.

Income from railway operations remained flat at $820 million compared with third-quarter 2015. The 67.5 operating ratio improved 2.2 points on a year-over-year basis.

Ford Idles Assembly Plants in Michigan, Kentucky

October 27, 2016

Five assembly plants operated by Ford Motor Company will be idled this month, affecting traffic of Norfolk Southern, CSX and Kansas City Southern.

train image2One of the plants is located in Louisville, Kentucky, and is served by CSX. The other plants are located in Michigan; Claycomo, Missouri, (near Kansas City); and in Mexico.

Ford said that due to falling sales it was pausing production at plants that build the F-150 pickup, Escape and Lincoln MKC sport utility vehicles, and the Fusion and Fiesta cars.
The Louisville plant builds the Escape and was shut down this week.

Last week Ford temporary closed its Mustang assembly line at its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant. CN serves that facility while NS handles Ford traffic from its nearby Melvindale auto loading ramp.

Here is to the Unheralded Ballast Cleaner

October 22, 2016



The ballast that supports the ties and rails may not get “dirty” in a traditional sense, but it does need to be cleaned.

The equipment used to clean ballast isn’t photographed often, but it is interesting in its own right.

Here are two views of the LRV-12 on Norfolk Southern property in Macedonia. It’s a type of ballast cleaner that is used by NS.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Along the NS Mainline near Motor Yard

October 20, 2016



Here are a few images of interest of Norfolk Southern action on the Cleveland Line near Motor Yard in Macedonia.

In the top image, the NS “Go Rail” locomotive leads a manifest freight in the vicinity of  the yard.

In the bottom image, NS 8302 leads another manifest freight through Macedonia. It is one of the few remaining standard cab GEs that you can see leading on the Cleveland Line.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

N&W 611 To Return to Roanoke on Oct. 24

October 20, 2016

Norfolk & Western No. 611 will return to Roanoke, Virginia, this month during a welcome back event at the Virginia Transportation Museum.

Fire up 611The J-Class 4-8-4 has been at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina.

It will leave in the early morning hours from Spencer and travel over Norfolk Southern tracks to Roanoke.

The VTM will open at 7 a.m. with the 611 expected to arrive between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m.

The steamer is expected to operate under its own power with a dead head consist.

Museum visitors will have the opportunity to purchase breakfast and lunch at the museum grounds.

For an additional $25 fee, visitors will be permitted to climb into the locomotive cab and blow the whistle.