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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

NS sets quarterly coal tonnage record


Norfolk Southern Railway's still on a coal-hauling roll. During the third quarter, NS hauled 49.67 million tons of coal, up 6 percent compared with the same 2007 period and the Thoroughbred's best-ever volume in a quarter, the Class I announced yesterday.

The previous record of 49.27 million tons was set in the second quarter.

Strong export demand and an increase in domestic metallurgical coal helped put NS over the quarterly top. At 6.26 million tons, NS's export coal tonnage jumped 55 percent compared with third-quarter 2007's 4.05 million tons. In the domestic steel-related market — which includes coke, iron ore, and metallurgical coal used to make coke — NS hauled 5.24 million tons during the quarter, an 8 percent increase compared with the 4.85 million tons the Class I moved during the same 2007 period.

While it's handling record coal amounts, NS is reducing the transit time of shipments over major coal lanes. During the year's first nine months, the Class I improved shipment transit time by 8.8 percent, NS said.

"Faster transit times when tonnage is at record levels indicate a fluid rail network with capacity for growth," said Donald Seale, NS executive vice president and chief marketing officer in a prepared statement.

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More News from 10/24/2008