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Norfolk Southern Railway generated more than 60,000 carloads of new traffic last year through its industrial development efforts, the Class I announced today.The 72 new and 18 expanded industrial plants in 17 states represented an investment of $1.5 billion by NS customers. The commercial development is expected to create nearly 3,000 new customer jobs and contribute to the economy in communities across the railroad's service area, NS officials said in a press release."This broad-based industrial growth in our service region reflected ongoing economic strength throughout 2018," said Jason Reiner, NS' assistant vice president of industrial development. "We saw strong investment in manufacturing projects and good activity related to our chemicals and coal franchises. Our current project activity suggests 2019 will be similarly productive."The larger projects that generated new carloads on NS last year included a new tissue mill in Circleville, Ohio; an advanced-technology saw mill in Talladega, Alabama; a new consumer-goods manufacturing facility near Martinsburg, West Virginia; a manufacturing facility in Blythewood, South Carolina, that produces film products used in packaging; and new coal mines in Indiana and Pennsylvania.NS works with state and local economic development leaders on projects involving site location and development of infrastructure to connect shippers to its system. The Class I provides free location services, including industrial park planning, site layout, track design and supply-chain analysis.Over the past decade, NS's industrial development department has participated in the location or expansion of 899 facilities that represent private investments worth nearly $60 billion and the creation of more than 40,000 direct new customer jobs in territory the railroad serves.