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Driven by business gains in most commodity group segments, Norfolk Southern Corp. set five financial records in the second quarter.Railway operating revenue rose 9 percent year over year to $3 billion — the highest in the Class I's history. The four 2Q records were income from railway operations, which jumped 22 percent to $1 billion; net income, which climbed 21 percent to $562 million; diluted earnings, which soared 23 percent to $1.79 per share, and the operating ratio, which improved 3.7 points to 66.5 compared with second-quarter 2013 results.In addition, volume increased 8 percent to nearly 2 million units and railway operating expenses rose only 3 percent to $2 billion as compensation and benefits costs fell slightly, fuel costs increased incrementally, and purchased services and rent costs were relatively flat."Norfolk Southern delivered excellent financial performance during the second quarter," said NS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman in a press release. "We see continued strength across most of our business segments and are optimistic that overall economic conditions will drive growth."Intermodal revenue climbed 11 percent to a record $650 million and volume rose 11 percent to 976,100 units primarily because of continued domestic business growth coupled with new international business, NS officials said.General merchandise revenue increased 8 percent to a record $1.7 billion, as metals and construction revenue soared 17 percent. Gains in metals and construction, chemicals and agricultural products volumes fueled a 7 percent traffic increase in the quarter to 577,800 units.Coal revenue rose 7 percent to $672 million and volume increased 3 percent to 350,500 units — the result of increased demand for utility coal from stockpile replenishment in response to the severe winter and higher natural gas prices, which offset lower export volumes, NS officials said.
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