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Rail News: Financials

NS attains annual '7 + 7' goal — more than $7 billion in revenue, operating ratio in the 70s

Last year, Norfolk Southern Corp. reached its "7 + 7" goal, earning more than $7 billion in annual revenue for the first time and recording an operating ratio in the 70s. The Class I's annual operating revenue of $7.3 billion increased 13 percent and operating ratio of 76.7 improved 5.2 points compared with 2003.

NS also increased annual net income more than 70 percent to a record $923 million, boosted income from railway operations 60 percent to an all-time high $1.7 billion and contained operating expenses to a 4 percent increase to $5.6 billion despite rising fuel costs.

"In practically every way, 2004 was a record year for Norfolk Southern," said NS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Goode in a prepared statement. "All of our major business sectors set revenue records, [and] our investments in people, systems and infrastructure to prepare for business opportunities paid off."

NS capped off its strong year with a banner fourth quarter. The railroad's operating revenue increased 16 percent to a record $1.9 billion, net income rose 500 percent to $264 million, income from railway operations increased more than 100 percent to $462 million and operating ratio improved 4 points to 76.3 compared with fourth-quarter 2003. NS posted its best fourth-quarter and full-year operating ratios since 1998.

Meanwhile, NS announced its first-quarter 2005 financial statement will include pre-tax expenses between $30 million and $40 million because of the Jan. 6 train derailment in Graniteville, S.C. The railroad also has elected President Charles "Wick" Moorman as a board member. He was named president in October 2004.

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More News from 1/26/2005