Eleven years ago, Norfolk Southern piloted a train-handling technology dubbed LEADER on a hilly, curvy stretch of track between Roanoke, Va., and a Winston-Salem, N.C., power plant. From that small start, NS has transformed LEADER into the railroad’s flagship fuel-efficiency initiative.
From his days as an entry-level carman to his current role as manager locomotive systems and special projects, Jonathan Collins has helped NS address a number of business challenges involving technology. He now manages the development and deployment of LEADER, a train-handling technology that is saving NS millions of dollars in fuel costs and reducing the company’s environmental impacts.
Before using LEADER for the first time four years ago, Raiford Wilson was skeptical. The locomotive engineer has operated trains for 27 years with Norfolk Southern, and he didn’t think he needed train-handling technology to tell him how to run one. After only a few road trips with LEADER, however, Wilson began to change his way of thinking.
Challenged first by nature and then by an unexpected surge in traffic volumes, Norfolk Southern employees have proven their grit during the first half of 2014. The excellent news at midyear: Overall business volumes are near record levels in an improving economy, generating all-time revenue and income records in the second quarter.
NS’ BMW solution: good for business and environment
The next time you see a BMW sport activity vehicle cruising down the road, think Norfolk Southern. Since last fall, NS double-stack intermodal container trains have been moving the parts and components that go into every SAV manufactured at the automaker’s Greer, S.C., assembly plant. The result: good business for NS and long-term economic and environmental benefits for BMW.
Creative thinking by employees in Norfolk Southern’s equipment planning and automotive marketing groups has provided Ford Motor Company, a major automotive customer, with an economical, sustainable solution for shipping new generation Transit vans by rail.
Norfolk Southern is stepping up efforts to recruit more women into railroad operations. “In order for Norfolk Southern to continue to be a leader in the industry, we have to hire and retain the best talent – and the fact is, the best talent is male and female,” said Dave Dixon, director planning and staffing.