NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Southern Corporation today marked the 25th anniversary of its formation, thanking the customers, shareholders, employees and communities that the railroad serves.
“Any success we claim is a result of their support and willingness to be true partners,” said Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman. “No company serves a better group of stakeholders.”
Norfolk Southern was formed June 1, 1982, from the consolidation of two of the country’s most successful railroads, Southern Railway and Norfolk and Western Railway, which traced their beginnings respectively to 1827 and 1836 and the earliest days of railroading in North America.
A top news publication called the transaction “a model of its kind,” and another went so far as to say, “It is a marriage that, if not made in heaven, must have been conceived on some high and favored cloud.”
The next 25 years would see continuous improvement in NS’ safety, service, finances and technology. At least four achievements can be identified as watersheds.
The first occurred in 1989, when NS earned its first E.H. Harriman Memorial gold medal award for employee safety. NS employees have earned the top award every year since then — an unprecedented 18 consecutive times — creating one of the safest workplaces in the world and raising the bar for safety at transportation companies everywhere.
The second occurred June 1, 1999, when NS closed on its transaction to integrate into its system a large portion of the routes and assets of Conrail, expanding NS’ service territory into northeastern markets and ensuring balanced rail competition in the East.
A third key achievement is associated with the railroad’s traffic base. Over the last 25 years, NS has met the growing need for fast, reliable transportation of international and domestic containers, successfully putting intermodal traffic on par with coal and merchandise traffic as the major components of its traffic base.
The fourth major development is unfolding. Recognizing that rail is an environmentally sound part of the solution to the U.S. infrastructure crisis, NS is leading the industry in developing public-private partnerships to increase the rail capacity available to move the nation’s goods. One such project is the Heartland Corridor, where NS has joined with government and other stakeholders to upgrade a key rail route between the Atlantic Coast and the Midwest.
Statistically, the NS of 2007 is markedly different from that of 1982. Today’s Norfolk Southern operates some 1,800 trains a day and serves more than 6,400 active customer locations. The 1982 NS operated an average 1,066 trains a day.
In 2006, Norfolk Southern handled 7.9 million rail shipments of raw materials, intermediate goods and finished products, and earned $9.4 billion in revenues. In 1983, NS handled 3.6 million rail shipments and earned $3.1 billion in revenues.
Moorman said the numbers tell only a small part of the story, as he congratulated Norfolk Southern officers and employees, past and present, for their achievements.
“Generations of Norfolk Southern railroaders have demonstrated their resilience and character through challenging conditions, time and again. They are the best in the railroad industry, and in fact I’d put them up against the employees of any industry,” he said.
“It is Norfolk Southern’s good fortune to have been led by visionary railroaders such as Bob Claytor, Arnold McKinnon and David Goode,” Moorman added. “They guided the company through the earliest days of deregulation, the growth of true rail competition and marketing, the rise of computerized operations, complicated merger transactions and the evolution of the railroad into a vital link in the global logistics chain.”