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Norfolk Southern further streamlines railroad operations

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World Coal,

Norfolk Southern (NS) is consolidating its three operating regions into two, effective 15 March.

The decision to further streamline railroad operations is part of the company's ongoing execution of its five-year strategic plan, announced in December 2015, to enhance operating efficiencies, reduce costs, drive profitability and accelerate growth.

As previously announced, NS is targeting annual expense savings of US$650 million by 2020.

Under the new structure, NS’s network will be divided into Northern and Southern regions only. The Northern Region will include the Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Dearborn, Lake, and Illinois divisions. The Southern Region will include the Piedmont, Alabama, Georgia, Central, and Pocahontas divisions.

Each of the two consolidated regions will support approximately 1000 daily crew starts for long-haul train operations, connecting customers and communities to global markets with freight rail that moves consumer goods, automobiles, coal, grain, and other products that are essential to US households, businesses and industries.

"We are committed to aggressively controlling costs, while delivering the high levels of superior service that our customers value," said Mike Wheeler, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "Consolidating our operating regions will generate productivity savings, not only through right-sizing, but also by leveraging advancements in train dispatch technologies that support more fluid and efficient movement of freight across the network. As we continue to execute on our five-year strategic plan, we are confident that these steps will make Norfolk Southern a faster, lower-cost, and more profitable railroad."

Earlier this year, Norfolk Southern streamlined division operations by combining the former Virginia and Pocahontas divisions into a larger Pocahontas Division. This became effective 1 February, and followed other key strategic initiatives, including the reduction from three corporate office locations to two, restructuring of the Triple Crown Services subsidiary, integration of the D&H South Line to increase options for shippers, and idling of certain parts of the 'West Virginia Secondary' line.

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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