Railroads & Locomotives Railroad Profiles Class Is Norfolk Southern Corporation profile

Norfolk Southern Corporation profile

By Steve Sweeney | January 18, 2023

| Last updated on January 20, 2023

As a railroad holding company, Norfolk Southern has a long history with connections from New York to Georgia and west to Missouri and the Mississippi River

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A black and white painted Norfolk Southern locomotive leads a train along NS tracks through a slightly foggy winter afternoon.
A Norfolk Southern train storms eastward through Otis, Indiana.
Trains staff

Norfolk Southern summary

Norfolk Southern Corporation is a railroad holding company incorporated in Virginia. The company’s corporate headquarters are in Norfolk, Virginia. Operations headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia. Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NS), a large subsidiary of NSC, operates a network of rail lines in the Eastern United States and primarily moves traffic on East-West routes. Its main competitor is CSX Corporation, and it connects with CSX and four other Class I railroads in Chicago. NS and its subsidiaries employed an average of 24,587 people in 2019. The railroad hauled freight over about 19,500 route miles between Midwest rail hubs in Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, and other places such as New Orleans; the New York City region, and Atlantic Ocean ports such as Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Norfolk.


Norfolk Southern is the product of the June 1, 1982 merger of Norfolk & Western and Southern Railway. The two railroads operated as separate subsidiaries under parent company Norfolk Southern Corporation until December 31, 1990, when Norfolk & Western became a subsidiary of the Southern Railway, and the Southern Railway changed its name to Norfolk Southern Railway.

Norfolk & Western, whose name dates from 1881, ran west from its namesake Virginia port to Detroit; Chicago; Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis; and Kansas City, Missouri; places reached in N&W’s 1964 consolidation of its Norfolk — Cincinnati/Columbus system with the Nickel Plate Road and Wabash railroads.

Southern, whose first predecessor dates from 1833, blanketed the Southeast from Washington to New Orleans, and from Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, and Memphis through Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida. One of the dozens of Southern’s predecessors was the original Norfolk Southern Railway, from Norfolk, to Charlotte, North Carolina, absorbed in 1974.

On August 22, 1998, Norfolk Southern, along with CSX Transportation, purchased and divided the assets of the 10,797-mile Consolidated Rail Corporation, better known as Conrail, giving NS its long sought-after gateway to the lucrative consumer markets of the northeast United States.

See Norfolk Southern’s predecessor railroads, or family tree!

Smiling man in coat and tie
Alan Shaw, Norfolk Southern CEO. Norfolk Southern Corp.

Executive officers (as of November 2022)

  • Alan H. Shaw – President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Ann A. Adams – Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer
  • Claude E. “Ed” Elkins – Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
  • Mark R. George – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Nabanita C. Nag – EVP & Chief Legal Officer
  • Cynthia M. “Cindy” Sanborn – Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
  • Paul B. Duncan – Senior Vice President Network Operations and Transportation
  • Michael R. McClellan – Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer

History provided by Matt Van Hattem.

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