Appropriately, its roots reach back to the earliest days of railroading in America. Norfolk Southern's history parallels the economic and social growth of the country, for as one observer said more than a century ago, "Where railroads are not, civilization cannot be. The railroad and the schoolmaster are the two chief agents of human improvement."
Today's Norfolk Southern is the product of hundreds of railroad combinations, reorganizations and consolidations. This timeline covers the Thoroughbred's three largest predecessors - Conrail, Norfolk & Western Railway and Southern Railway - and many of the lines that went before them. After each predecessor's name, we've used CR, NW or SR in parentheses to indicate which road eventually operated its lines.
- Massachusetts legislature sets up Granite Railway , Conrail's earliest predecessor, to move granite blocks and columns to build Bunker Hill Monument near Boston. Line features crushed granite roadbed and iron-capped wood rail set five feet apart. Horses will supply motive power until 1846.
- South Carolina Canal & Rail Road , Southern Railway's earliest antecedent, is chartered. It will operate the first regularly scheduled steam passenger service in America. First locomotive, "Best Friend of Charleston," will be placed in service on Christmas Day 1830. One passenger reports that the train flies "on the wings of the wind at the speed of 15 to 25 mph, annihilating time and space and leaving all the world behind." Chief Engineer Horatio Allen will invent "headlight," a bonfire of pine knots on a flatcar. In 1831, this railroad will become first to carry U.S. mail, and by 1833 its 136-mile rail line to Hamburg, S.C., is longest in the world.
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charters the Philadelphia & Columbia and the Allegheny Portage railroads as part of the Main Line of Public Works (CR), a system of railroads and canals intended to link Philadelphia with the Ohio River in response to the success of New York's Erie Canal.
- Chesterfield (SR) is chartered to carry coal downhill from pits near Midlothian, Va. Each train carries mules to pull empties back uphill to the mines.
- The Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mount Joy & Lancaster (CR) in Pennsylvania has soon-to-be-famous leader, future U.S. President Buchanan.
- New York & Erie (CR) is chartered to build within New York State. Erie's first president (also its third and seventh), Eleazar Lord, is inspired by the reported success of the South Carolina Canal & Rail Road. Construction will begin in 1835, but the line from Piermont-on-Hudson to Dunkirk, N.Y., will take until 1851 to finish, creating first trunk line railroad linking an Atlantic port with Great Lakes.
- Camden & Amboy (CR) formed with lines in New Jersey. Innovations will include the cow-catcher and the hooked-head spike for fastening rails to crossties. First locomotive, "John Bull," still exists at Smithsonian.
- Reading Lines , or Philadelphia and Reading (CR), chartered to run from Philadelphia to Pottsville, Pa., to carry coal. In 1845, this road will feature the first iron railroad bridge in America.
- Staple Bend Tunnel, first in the U.S., opens for business four miles east of Johnstown, Pa., for Allegheny Portage . Built to carry canal boats and other cargo over the mountains, the railroad will help open the U.S. interior for trade and settlement. It takes 10 stationary engines, 12 teams of horses, nine steam locomotives and 54 men to get one train over the hills between Johnstown and Hollidaysburg.
- Virginia legislature charters City Point , Norfolk and Western's earliest predecessor. In 1838, this nine-mile road from City Point, Va., to Petersburg, Va., will have one locomotive, the 35-horsepower "Powhatan."
- Another antebellum forerunner of today's NS, the Hiwassee (SR), is incorporated in Tennessee to connect Knoxville with proposed Western and Atlantic .
- Cumberland Valley (CR) formed in Pennsylvania. It soon operates world's first sleeping car, equipped with crude bunks and wash basins, wood stove and candles. In 1845, CVR will become first to use T-rail track.
- "The Standard Railroad of the World," the Pennsylvania Railroad (CR), is incorporated. For many years, PRR will be the largest U.S. road by tonnage and revenues. At one time it will own a third of NW's stock, which proves ironic in 1999 as NW successor NS will operate the CR segments composed mostly of the former PRR.
- Southside (NW) incorporated - will be completed in 1854 from City Point through Petersburg and on to Lynchburg, in Virginia.
- Macon and Western (SR) begins regular through freight and passenger service between Macon, Ga., and Marthasville, renamed Atlanta, marking the first operation by an NS predecessor into what will become the commercial and transportation center of the South.
- The railroad that will help make Richmond, Va., one of the South's leading commercial centers, Richmond & Danville (SR), is formed. In the late 1850s, it will have annual revenues of $250,000 from transporting wool, cotton, silk, iron, coffee, tea, tobacco, corn, wheat, rice and passengers.
- Starruca Viaduct is completed on the Erie at Lanesboro, Pa. A National Civil Engineering Landmark, in 1999 it will continue essentially as built (with double-track rather than single-track line). The 17-arch stone bridge, reminiscent of an ancient Roman aqueduct, spans 1,040 feet of Starruca Creek Valley.
- The Virginia & Tennessee (NW) is incorporated. The line will be completed in 1856, extending 204 miles through Virginia. Rail was imported from Wales, spikes were of Virginia pig iron, and crossties were of oak, chestnut and locust. President Lincoln will call the V&T the "gut of the Confederacy," because of the critical salt and gypsum works it serves.
- Central Railroad of New Jersey (CR), a descendant of the Elizabethtown & Somerville , incorporated. In 1868 it will become first American railroad to have employees wear uniforms, and in 1892 one of its locomotives will set a world speed record of 105 mph.
- Wrapped in a rug and clutching a bottle of rum, Secretary of State Daniel Webster and rocking chair are strapped to an open flatcar so he can ride end to end on just-completed Erie . President Fillmore touts world's longest (and the U.S.' widest) railroad. Procession through New York City occurs "amid such a din of cannon and tin horns as the city did not hear again until the Civil War." Burdened by debt, robber barons and its broad six-foot gauge, however, the Erie will not enjoy prosperity until World War II.
- The main line of the Lackawanna & Western , chartered in 1832 as Liggett's Gap , is opened between Scranton, Pa., and a connection with Erie at Great Bend, Pa. In 1853, it will merge with Delaware & Cobbs Gap to form Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (CR). Another component of the DL&W is Morris & Essex , the first line of which opened for business in 1836 between Newark, N.J., and Morristown, N.J.
- So much ice jams the Susquehanna River that Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore (CR) lays tracks and operates trains over it. In 1863, this railroad will be first to operate dining cars.
- Norfolk & Petersburg (NW) organized to run 81 miles between the two Virginia communities. Construction takes several years, as yellow fever kills officers and investors. Chief Engineer William Mahone will create an engineering marvel with 52 miles of straight track and long-lasting roadbed crossing Great Dismal Swamp.
- New York Central Lines (CR) organized under a state law consolidating 10 roads between Albany, N.Y., Troy, N.Y., and Buffalo, N.Y. Calling itself the "Water Level Route," the NYC will eventually be second in the East only to PRR by revenues.
- Lehigh Valley (CR), a descendant of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill & Susquehanna , is incorporated to serve coalfields discovered in 1791 at Mauch Chunk, Pa., (later renamed Jim Thorpe). Another LV predecessor, the Beaver Meadow , in 1835 operated the "Samuel D. Ingham," first locomotive equipped with a cab.
- Horseshoe Curve on PRR opens near Altoona, Pa., and today remains one of the most fascinating and photographed sites in all railroading.
- Atlantic & North Carolina , later Atlantic & East Coast (SR), is formed to move freight to and from the port at Morehead City, N.C.
- PRR carries President Lincoln safely to Washington for inauguration, advising Mrs. Lincoln, "Plums delivered nuts safely." In 1865, Lincoln's funeral train will depart Washington for Illinois, traveling over much of PRR to get to the Midwest.
- First new locomotive is produced in PRR's Altoona Machine Shops. In the coming 80 years, Altoona employees will manufacture 6,783 steam, electric and diesel locomotives.
- East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia (SR) created through joining of East Tennessee & Georgia and East Tennessee & Virginia railroads.
- Mahone forms Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio (NW) from the Southside, Norfolk & Petersburg and Virginia & Tennessee . Norfolk celebrates with 110-gun salute - one for each pro-consolidation vote in the state legislature. Despite its name, AM&O included mainline track of only 408 miles from Norfolk to Bristol, Va. Mahone's salary: $25,000 a year, same as the U.S. president's.
- Shenandoah Valley (NW) organized as subsidiary of PRR to tap Blue Ridge mineral deposits. It will run 238 miles from Hagerstown, Md., to Roanoke, Va., connecting with NW in 1882.
- Alabama Great Southern (SR) incorporated, running 291 miles from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Meridian, Miss. It will become part of SR in 1895.
- Wabash (NW) incorporated. Its oldest ancestor is the Northern Cross , which began in 1837 in Illinois and counted Lincoln as a frequent passenger. The "Follow the Flag" railroad eventually grew to 2,500 miles of track in eight states, and operated such trains as the Blue Bird and Cannon Ball.
- In first trial of a new-fangled telephone for railroad purposes, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell's assistants test and later install equipment in PRR's Altoona shops.
- Cincinnati Southern , later Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific (SR), begins life as one of the few city-owned mainline railroads. Its route from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Chattanooga, Tenn., has so many bridges (105) and tunnels (27) that it earns the nickname "Rat Hole." SR in the 1960s will modernize and reconstruct the route, and install America's first automatic train control device on it.
- Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio sold to Philadelphia investment bankers and renamed Norfolk & Western Railroad .
- Lehigh & Hudson River Valley (CR) incorporated. It began 20 years earlier as Warwick Valley from Warwick, N.Y., to Greycourt, N.Y., and extended southwest to serve iron and zinc mines. Today the zinc mines are non-operational but open for tours.
- New York, Chicago & St. Louis (NW) incorporated. Commonly known as the Nickel Plate , it is built in 500 days to connect Chicago and Buffalo. A newspaper gives the line its fancy moniker, apparently referring to the cost of its construction.
- NW delivers second shipment of coal from Pocahontas coalfields of West Virginia to the mayor of Norfolk, Va., where residents follow the gaily-decorated gondola, hoping to snatch souvenir coal lumps. (First shipment was allocated for use as locomotive fuel.)
- Norfolk Southern Railway (SR) incorporated. It begins as a line from Norfolk to Edenton, N.C., on the shore of Albemarle Sound, where steamers connect with trains for points up river and along the coast. SR will purchase it in 1974.
- Pier 1 opened by NW at Lamberts Point, Va., for loading coal into water-borne colliers. Next year, 676 vessels will call on the pier.
- Toledo, St. Louis & Kansas City (NW) incorporated. "Clover Leaf Route," a fast freight line, will become involved in a bankruptcy proceeding featuring future U.S. presidents Taft as judge and Harrison as counsel.
- NW expands with $8 million, 191-mile line from Elkhorn, W.Va., to Kenova, W.Va., on the Ohio River. Feuding Hatfields and McCoys make it difficult to recruit rail workers, and project is so difficult that NW President Frederick J. Kimball is bedridden with plague of boils. The line will connect with the Scioto Valley & New England (which did not go to New England), extending NW reach to Columbus, Ohio.
- Earliest predecessor of the Georgia Northern (SR) is organized as a private logging railroad. Will come under SR control in 1966.
- Southern Railway Company begins operations on July 1 as the reorganization and consolidation of the Richmond & Danville , the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad and the Richmond & West Point Terminal Railway & Warehouse Company . The new system is 4,400 miles long. Over the next six years, 68 railway properties operating under 109 different charters will be merged into SR.
- Central of Georgia (SR) incorporated to operate 1,520 miles of road including Central Railroad & Banking Company of Georgia, Savannah & Western, Savannah & Atlantic, Montgomery & Eufaula, Mobile & Girard, Macon & Northern and others, the earliest segments of which date to the 1830s.
- Illinois Terminal (NW) incorporated. This road begins when future U.S. President McKinley purchases a streetcar system serving Urbana, Ill., and Champaign, Ill. Will be acquired by NW in 1981.
- Expansion at a time of economic depression (Panic of 1893), leads NW Railroad into receivership. It will emerge in 1896 as NW Railway, the name by which it will thereafter be known.
- Interstate (SR) is incorporated; when completed in 1909 its first leg will run 16 miles in Virginia from Stonega to Norton, serving coal mines. Despite its name, this railroad never crossed the state line. SR will purchase it in 1961.
- NW acquires lands held by Flat Top Coal Land Association and vests them in its subsidiary, Pocahontas Coal & Coke , which will be renamed Pocahontas Land Corp. in 1939. It today manages 1.2 million acres of coal, timber and natural gas resources in six states.
- PRR's Pennsylvania Special, later called Broadway Limited, sets train speed record by running three miles in 85 seconds - 127.2 mph - near Ada, Ohio.
- First SR president, Samuel Spencer, dies in train wreck at Lawyers, Va., on the railroad he guided during its formative years. Bronze statue of Spencer can be seen today in a downtown Atlanta park.
- By combination of several short lines, the Georgia & Florida (SR) is formed to run from Columbia, S.C., to a port to be built on Gulf of Mexico in Florida. It stops instead just south of Georgia-Florida line.
- The 608-mile Virginian (NW) is founded, originally as Tidewater and incorporating the Deepwater . It is the only major American railroad financed entirely through the capital and credit of one man - oil magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers. Original cost: about $30 million.
- A successor of the Northern Ohio , the Akron, Canton & Youngstown (NW) is incorporated. Six years later, it will complete its first eight miles, from Mogodore, Ohio, to Akron, Ohio. The AC&Y will serve the automotive supply industry.
- Tennessee, Alabama & Georgia (SR), which began in 1890 as the Chattanooga Southern , is incorporated. "TAG Route" is built to tap iron, coal and timber resources in northern Alabama.
- John Thayer, NW board member, is among 1,500 people who perish when Titanic sinks. He refuses to board lifeboats as long as women and children remain on the doomed ship. His wife and son survive.
- PRR performs admirably in one of worst blizzards in history.
- Eight months after nation enters WWI, U.S. President Wilson places railroads under jurisdiction of U.S. Railroad Administration. USRA control will continue until 1920.
- To facilitate high-speed service between the Midwest and middle Atlantic area, the Pittsburgh & West Virginia (NW) is formed. Connecting with eight other carriers, the P&WV will be the center link in the "Alphabet Route."
- At Montclair, N.J., Thomas A. Edison opens the throttle on the first electric commuter train on the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western. His direct current equipment will remain in service more than 50 years, until after CR turns the commuter operation over to NJ Transit in 1983.
- Depression grips the country. On NW, a picnic for 2,000 employees costs $110.
- Carrying nearly 10 percent of all U.S. rail passenger traffic, PRR begins an advertising campaign based on its incredible safety record. Slogan: "Not a Passenger Killed."
- SR accepts delivery of Electro-Motive FT-type diesel freight locomotive, the 6100 - first successful, mass-produced road-freight diesel-electric locomotive ever built.
- PRR's Horseshoe Curve and Gallitzin tunnels are placed under armed guard after FBI captures eight German spies who came ashore with $100,000, explosives and plans to sabotage the curve and other strategic infrastructure.
- SR's green and gold Pacific 1401 helps pull President Roosevelt's funeral train from Warm Springs, Ga., to Washington, D.C. Locomotive later is donated to Smithsonian, where it remains on display today.
- Ceremony at Chattanooga, Tenn., heralds arrival of SR's final steam-powered freight train. As Mikado No. 6330 eases to a halt, SR becomes first major American railroad to completely dieselize.
- NW acquires 54-mile Chesapeake Western , built in the 1890s by a New York financier. It connects at Elkton, Va. Claim to fame: in 1946 CW buys three diesel locomotives and proclaims itself "first railroad in America to completely dieselize its fleet."
- NW absorbs Virginian . The line had inspired notable loyalty - the careers of many of its employees covered the railroad's entire life span.
- NW retires its last steam locomotive. In 1954, the company made a final effort to retain steam power with creation of the TE1, a coal-fired steam turbine electric drive unit called "Jawn Henry." But in the end, the efficiency and reliability of diesel win out.
- Erie-Lackawanna (NW/CR) is incorporated from merger of Erie and Delaware, Lackawanna & Western . The hyphen will be dropped three years later, and the road will become part of CR in 1976.
- NW takes over 205-mile Atlantic & Danville , which dates to 1884, and renames it Norfolk, Franklin & Danville .
- SR develops oversized grain cars holding up to 4,000 bushels. These efficient cars (named "Big John," after a popular song of the day) saved Southeast grain customers millions of dollars and were at the center of a celebrated legal fight for deregulated rail rates.
- In Norfolk, NW dedicates Pier 6, the hemisphere's premier coal transloading facility and one of largest pieces of moving equipment on face of planet. In 1999, the pier is expected to handle its one billionth ton of coal.
- Central of Georgia becomes part of SR.
- In one of the most complex railroad transactions of the era, the Wabash, Nickel Plate, Pittsburgh & West Virginia and the Akron, Canton & Youngstown are consolidated into NW, positioning it as important Midwestern carrier.
- NW operates world's longest and heaviest freight train between Iaeger, W.Va., and Portsmouth, Ohio. The train is four miles long with 500 coal cars and six locomotives. Photographers can't get it all in one frame.
- Central Railroad of New Jersey (CR) enters bankruptcy.
- Penn Central Transportation Company created by merger of Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central ; soon adds New York, New Haven & Hartford .
- Through Dereco subsidiary, NW acquires control of Delaware & Hudson and Erie Lackawanna .
- Lehigh Valley enters bankruptcy.
- Penn Central enters bankruptcy.
- As Amtrak is now a reality, the Pocahontas makes its final 680-mile run from Cincinnati to Norfolk, Va., formally ending NW passenger service.
- Reading enters bankruptcy.
- Erie Lackawanna and Lehigh & Hudson River enter bankruptcy.
- Federal government ends one-day strike on Penn Central and begins process of solving Northeast rail crisis.
- Regional Rail Reorganization Act (3R) is signed into law, authorizing formation of U.S. Railway Association to develop plan for new Northeastern rail system.
- SR acquires former Norfolk Southern Railway .
- Conrail created as the Rail Revitalization and Regulatory Reform (4R) Act is signed into law. Government combines bankrupt Penn Central, Lehigh & Hudson River, Erie Lackawanna, Central Railroad of New Jersey, Lehigh Valley, Reading and the ailing Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines . April 1 is CR's first day of operation. At its formation, CR is nation's largest railroad with 34,000 miles of track in 16 states, 96,000 employees, 4,600 locomotives and 152,000 freight cars.
- SR ceases passenger operations, turning over to Amtrak its Washington-to-New Orleans Southern Crescent.
- CR earns $23 million for second quarter, its first profitable one.
- President Carter signs Staggers Act, loosening constraints of government regulation of the rail industry and giving carriers more freedom to compete.
- L. Stanley Crane, former SR president, succeeds Edward Jordan as CR chairman.
- CR withdraws the last of a total of $3.3 billion in federal funds authorized for investment in it; this is the last time CR will need federal money.
- President Reagan signs Northeast Rail Service Act (NERSA) into law; incorporated are CR recommendations for long-term profitability.
- CR earns net income of $39.2 million, reporting first profitable year and no longer requiring federal investment.
- NW and SR create Norfolk Southern Corp. in a consolidation described in the news media as "a model of its kind."
- Conrail completes second full year of profitable operations with net income of $174.2 million.
- Robert B. Claytor elected first NS chairman.
- Helps launch innovative project in Eastern Kentucky to reclaim mined lands for schools, hospitals, businesses, and farming.
- David, an 8-year-old stallion from Northern New Jersey, makes his appearance - he's the first Norfolk Southern Thoroughbred.
- Establishes matching gifts program to aid charitable groups and causes, and a college scholarship program to aid children of employees.
- CR passes two profitability tests mandated by NERSA, setting in motion the process of returning it to private sector.
- NS and 13 others submit bids for government's 85 percent interest in CR; NS named one of three finalists.
- Begins replacing cabooses with telemetry devices.
- Establishes Norfolk Southern Foundation to support educational, cultural, and environmental programs.
- Takes delivery of its first high-efficiency microprocessor-equipped locomotives.
- U.S. DOT Secretary Elizabeth Dole selects NS to purchase CR.
- NS purchases motor carrier North American Van Lines.
- Sponsors an international opera, "Harriet, The Woman Called Moses," about an underground railroad leader in the pre-Civil War days.
- After Senate approval but House stalemate, NS withdraws bid for CR, which observes 10th anniversary. President Reagan signs legislation authorizing CR's sale in public offering.
- NS starts Triple Crown ® Service, using trailers that operate over both railway and highway.
- Moves hay to help helps farmers in deadly Southeastern drought.
- In largest initial public stock offering in nation's history at the time, federal government sells ownership interest in CR, returning it to private sector as for-profit corporation.
- CR becomes first railroad to transport more than 1 million intermodal trailers and containers in a single year.
- Arnold B. McKinnon elected NS chairman.
- First to transport a million intermodal trailers and containers in a year.
- Spins off 2,700 miles of lines, while retaining rail traffic, in Thoroughbred Shortline Program.
- Snowstorm paralyzes Northern Virginia; an NS employee helps keeps trains moving by riding his horse to the site of a malfunctioning snow melting machine.
- Delivers baby food for Polish children thought sick due to Chernobyl nuclear accident that occurred two years earlier in former Soviet Union.
- Cuts ribbon on new 21-story headquarters in Norfolk, Va.
- First to introduce dedicated stack train service into Canada.
- Deepening of Hampton Roads channel improves NS Pier 6 competitiveness.
- NS acquires 377 miles of line/trackage rights from Illinois Central.
- NS gains intermodal access to Northeast in run-through service with CR.
- NS Tower headquarters building officially opens in Norfolk.
- Richard D. Sanborn elected CR chairman; after Sanborn's death, James A. Hagen is elected.
- Moves supplies for victims of Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina.
- Airs its first television commercial in modern times.
- Donates 107-year-old Hotel Roanoke, whose guests included Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan, Amelia Earhart, Joe DiMaggio, Jack Dempsey, and several presidents, to Virginia Tech.
- Opens its first overseas office, in Tokyo.
- Persian Gulf War causes massive increases in diesel fuel price.
- NS breaks ground for new regional headquarters building in Roanoke.
- NS begins computerized, centralized crew dispatching at each operating division.
- NS wins its first Harriman Gold Medal Award for employee safety, for 1989.
- Loads record 39.5 million tons of coal for the year at Pier 6, as coal export demand peaks.
- Adopts vision to "Be the safest, most customer-focused and successful transportation company in the world."
- Sends managers to Russia to help railways there transition to a free-market economy.
- Embarks on Thoroughbred Quality continuous improvement process.
- Launches its first annual customer expectations survey.
- Expands its "Annual Safety Meeting" to include representatives from all levels in all departments in virtually every NS location.
- Triple Crown Services shipments hit half-million mark.
- David R. Goode elected NS chairman.
- NS enters its second decade.
- Moves supplies for victims of Hurricane Andrew, which strikes South Florida and Louisiana on the Gulf Coast.
- NS forms service links with large truckload carriers.
- NS opens National Customer Service Center in Atlanta.
- CR and NS begin doing business
- Opens National Customer Service Center, in Atlanta.
- Begins supplier diversity program.
- Donates transportation to assist victims of "Great Flood of '93" in the Midwest.
- Begins its first comprehensive environmental awareness program, "Our World, Our Choice."
- Sends personal computers - "technology of freedom" - to war-torn Bosnia.
- For the first time, named America's Most Admired railroad in FORTUNE magazine survey.
- NS launches ColTainer ® Service, America's first-ever coal movement using intermodal containers.
- NS begins moving auto and intermodal shipments on Atlanta-Miami corridor, using haulage rights on Florida East Coast Railway.
- For the first time since 1946, CR's Juniata Shops turn out new locomotives built there, as part of an order CR placed with GM Electro-Motive Division.
- NS income from rail operations exceeds $1 billion for the first tim
- NS income from rail operations exceeds $1 billion.
- Earns its first TRANSCAER Achievement Award for helping communities develop hazardous materials emergency response plans.
- Sends personal computers - "technology of freedom" - to war-torn Bosnia.
- For the first time, named America's Most Admired railroad in FORTUNE magazine survey.
- NS adopts vision to "be the safest, most customer-focused and successful transportation company in the world."
- NS Martiki project is recognized nationally for turning mined land into productive agricultural use.
- Hanjin and NS launch service partnership for Eastern container business.
- NS and CR inaugurate joint north-south double-stack service.
- Virginia Power contract involves largest coal volume ever negotiated by NS.
- CR turns 20.
- NS launches offer for CR in response to proposed CR/CSX consolidation.
- Ford selects NS to develop/manage innovative mixing center auto distribution system.
- Hundreds of NS employees and retirees volunteer at 26th Olympiad in Atlanta.
- David M. LeVan elected CR chairman.
- Implements groundbreaking risk and reward wage package with Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.
- Launches www.nscorp.com.
- Launches program to recognize chemical customers who contribute to safe rail transport of hazardous materials.
- NS rededicates renovated Lake Pontchartrain Bridge near New Orleans, which dates to 1883. Upgrade of the 30,742-foot, 997-span trestle required 102 miles of steel and concrete pilings and 180 million pounds of concrete.
- In a $10 billion transaction, NS and CSX on April 8 announce agreement on division of routes and assets of CR and acquisition of all outstanding CR shares for $115 in cash per share; shares will be placed in voting trust pending approval of transaction by Surface Transportation Board (STB).
- On June 23, NS and CSX file joint application with STB for approval of CR transaction; included are letters from more than 2,300 shippers, public officials and other railroads supporting plan to restore competitive rail service to Northeast for first time in more than 20 years.
- Railway Age names Goode "Railroader of the Year" for 1997 "for forging the agreement that strengthens rail transportation in the East and levels the playing field between eastern and western railroads." National Industrial Transportation League names Goode Transportation Executive of the Year.
- NS sells North American Van Lines.
- On June 3, STB opens two days of hearings on CR transaction; some 70 parties representing rail customers, states, communities and government bodies, as well as U.S. Congressmen, participate.
- On June 8, STB grants approval of application for NS and CSX to operate routes and assets of Conrail. Goode notes: "For a nation that depends on safe, efficient, reliable rail transportation service, June 8 will be remembered as a watershed day."
- Aug. 22 is Control Date for CR transaction; NS and CSX terminate voting trust that held their shares of CR during regulatory approval process; new CR board is elected, consisting of executives of NS and CSX, including Goode; Control Date has no immediate effect on rail operations, but allows planning for integration to move ahead.
- After a $12 million improvement project, NS and Canadian Pacific rededicate the "Bridge Route" through central Pennsylvania. The "Sunbury Line" from Sunbury to Scranton is vital part of joint NS/CP route linking the Southeast and central Pennsylvania to upstate New York, New England and eastern Canada.
- Loads all-time record 157,645 net tons of coal into a single vessel, at Pier 6.
- For fifth time in six years, NS is named "America's Most Admired Railroad" in survey in FORTUNE® magazine. NS places 25th overall among American companies.
- June 1 is Closing Date; NS begins operating about 7,200 miles of CR routes, creating a 21,600-mile railroad serving 22 states in the East, the District of Columbia and the Province of Ontario, Canada.
- Supports relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Floyd, which made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
- First to transload one billion tons of coal, at Pier 6.
- Conductor Robert E. Mohr receives Carnegie Medal for heroism for rescuing a one-year-old child, pushing the tyke from the path of a train with his foot and then leaping from the moving train to care for the girl before paramedics arrived.
- Thoroughbred Technology and Telecommunications (T-Cubed) was formed and it commenced building a telecommunications infrastructure using Norfolk Southern right-of-way and other communications assets
- Pocahontas Land Corporation sells interests in natural gas and timber resulting in a $101 million gain.
- Employs special trains to transport modern Acela Express passenger trainsets to Amtrak.
- Pocahontas Land Corporation celebrates 100th anniversary
- Develops Thoroughbred Operating Plan (TOP) for service improvement.
- Donates flat land in West Virginia to aid families displaced by flooding.
- Forms MODALGISTICS supply chain services group to give customers broad selection of transportation, materials management, and distribution services at one price.
- Initiates Six Sigma process to eliminate variations in services and processes to make them 99.9997 defect-free.
- Responds with service, security, and relief initiatives in wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
- NS completes the implementation of its new Thoroughbred Operating Plan
- NS and CSX seek to acquire direct ownership of Conrail subsidiaries
- NS completes the corporate reorganization of Conrail; STB regulatory oversight discontinued
- Horseshoe Curve celebrates 150th anniversary.
- Becomes the first major sponsor of Jamestown's 400th anniversary, highlighting the beginnings of the U.S. system of free enterprise, democracy, and rule of law.
- Helps sponsor U.S. Pavilion at World Expo 2005 - the world's fair in Japan's Aichi Prefecture.
- NS celebrates 175th anniversary
- NS initiates fourth stock purchase program
- Charles W. "Wick" Moorman named fourth NS chairman.
- Adopts core SPIRIT values of safety, performance, integrity, respect, innovation, and teamwork.
- Announces Crescent Corridor project to increase U.S. freight transportation capacity.
- Launches "Train Your Brain" public information program to promote grade-crossing safety.
- NS railway operating revenues exceed $10 billion.
- Employees named industry's safest for 20th straight year.
- Prepares systemwide to keep employees safe and the railroad running in the event of a swine flu pandemic, but it never materializes.
- Unveils NS 999, experimental battery-powered locomotive.
- Adopts its first-ever goal for reducing carbon footprint.
- Goes social, starts communicating via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr.
- With GE Transportation, announces breakthrough RailEdge Movement Planner technology to help increase NS' average network speed train velocity by 10-20 percent.
- NSC shares hit $75 and reach several all-time highs.
- Broke ground for new job-supporting intermodal terminals in Alabama, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, as part of Crescent Corridor.
- Provides disaster relief for victims of earthquake and tsunami in Northern Japan.
- Supports victims of deadly tornados in Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
- Named one of the 40 best companies for workplace diversity.
- Launches "21st Century Steam" program of steam locomotive passenger excursions - using the past to talk about the infinite possibilities of NS' future in supporting jobs, a clean environment, competition, and the economy.
- Named for the third time as one of America's 100 Best Corporate Citizens, based on data relating to the environment, climate change, human rights, philanthropy, employee relations, financial performance, and governance.
- Produces best-ever year financially with record revenues.
- 30th anniversary of the modern Norfolk Southern.
- Heritage Locomotive Project announced.
- "Service" takes its rightful place in the cultural pantheon as NS renames and refocuses its annual employee meeting as the "Safety and Service Awards Celebration,"
- 20th anniversary of the historic Conrail transaction.
- 10th anniversary of the Heartland Corridor, the rail industry's first major national public-private partnership.
- 200th anniversary of the chartering of NS' earliest predecessor, the South Carolina Canal & Rail Road.
- Fully operational Crescent Corridor should be benefitting public by removing 1.3 million long-haul trucks from interstates and 1.9 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
- The Crescent Corridor will have created or benefited more than 73,000 green jobs for America.
- 50th anniversary of the modern NS.
- Some 88 percent more freight will be moving in the U.S. than did 25 years ago. The Thoroughbred is there to do our part.