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Moving Your Dimensional Load

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Shipments of extraordinary size or weight may require additional rail capacity or resources. Follow the guidelines below to gain clearance for your dimensional load.

NS Clearance Request Form

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  1. Complete the online clearance request form and send  it and a drawing of the lading to the NS Clearance Department at nsclearances@nscorp.com.

  2. The Clearance Department will process the clearance request. Once approved, Marketing will assign an appropriate rate.

  3. As a shipper, you can register for accessNS and arrange for payment. For information on how to register, contact your marketing representative. A shipper can apply for credit with NS or arrange for prepayment by wire transfer. Payment conditions must be fulfilled prior to shipment. 

  4. The shipper is responsible for locating a suitable siding for (un)loading from the rail car prior to shipment. Contact NS Operations & Service Support at 800-898-4296 to request a track inspection from the local track supervisor and permission from the trainmaster to handle the load. Shipper also must arrange for logistics of unloading at the siding prior to shipment, including site inspection for verification of crane and truck access, DOT permits to move load to final site, execution of a Temporary Siding Lease Agreement for hi-wide loads, and providing a valid certificate of insurance to NS Risk Management.


    Norfolk Southern certificate of insurance requirements:

    1. A certificate of liability insurance evidencing combined single limit minimum of $2 million per occurrence of general liability (note this may be achieved via an excess or umbrella policy)

    2. $1 million combined single limit of auto liability (note this may be achieved via an excess or umbrella policy)

    3. Statutory limits on workers’ compensation insurance

    4. The certificate of liability insurance should name Norfolk Southern Railway Company, Three Commercial Place, Norfolk VA 23510-2191 as the certificate holder

    5. The certificate of liability insurance should name the certificate holder as an additional insured on the general and automobile liability policy

    6. The certificate of liability insurance must provide contractual liability coverage for operations performed within 50 feet of any railroad hazard. This typically is an endorsement to the general liability policy under ISO CG 24 17 10 01 or its equivalent.  (Sample wording: contractual liability insurance is of a form that does not deny coverage within 50 feet of any railroad hazard).

      This documentation must be sent electronically to scott.dickerson@nscorp.com.

      A temporary track lease document may be necessary in case the shipper is loading or unloading on Norfolk Southern property. These temporary track leases can be obtained from your marketing contact. A temporary track lease can be obtained with a valid certificate of insurance that is accepted by Norfolk Southern Risk Management. Temporary track leases are valid for 30 days and cannot be obtained more than 30 days from the shipments' arrival on the NS system whether it be at origin or interchange.

  5. If clearance file is issued, the shipper must order a flat car from accessNS or use the heavy-duty flat car order form. Shippers should allow at least four to six weeks for heavy-duty flat cars based on car supply availability. NS cannot guarantee car condition.

  6. The shipper is responsible for the arrangement of loading and securement of flat car. If you are unfamiliar with loading rail flat cars, marketing can provide contact information for riggers familiar with the AAR Open Top Loading Rules. Damage Prevention and Freight Claims personnel work with shippers to ensure proper loading, blocking, and bracing. To help in damage prevention, impact tests, special studies and over-the road tests may be performed. Contact DPFC at (800) 742-6313 or damageprev@nscorp.com.

  7. As a shipper, you must complete the Internet Bill of Lading on accessNS. Be sure to indicate that the shipment is dimensional/high and wide on the IBOL. Origin, destination, and routing must match the preapproved clearance route. It is imperative that dimensional loads are not billed until clearances are accepted by NS Clearances. If you are not a registered user of AccessNS, you may fax the bill of lading to AOC at 800-580-6092. Safety is of utmost importance, and billing prior to an approved inspection can result in NS crews pulling an improperly secured load. The shipper is responsible for ensuring load is accepted prior to billing for movement.

  8. Once the car is loaded, shipper must contact NS Operations and Service Support at 800-898-4296 to request a mechanical inspection. Ask for the representative who covers the geographic area where the shipment is being loaded. Mechanical inspection and finalized measurements are submitted to NS Clearances. If the finalized measurements are within dimensions previously approved by NS Clearances for this route, the dimensional load may be approved for forwarding. NS clearance files are valid for six months from date of issue.

  9. With accessNS, shippers can trace cars across the network. Norfolk Southern now offers a ‘Text Alert’ feature with AccessNS! A Railcar Event Alert allows you to be notified via text message on your cell phone whenever a defined event occurs.

    Operations & Service Support provides service 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached by calling 800-635-5768.

  10. Railcars must be unloaded and released back to the railroad within 48 hours of placement to avoid demurrage and detention charges. The national tariff for these charges is available through North America Railroad Professional Services (RIC 6740-G). Additional siding lease payments may apply after initial free days expire. Refer to your specific Temporary Siding Track Lease Agreement for Hi-Wide loads where applicable.