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6/18/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

NS to shrink vehicle fleet by 1,000


Norfolk Southern Corp. continues to cut costs by implementing its restructuring plan, part of which involves selling 12,000 rail cars. To save even more money, the railroad now is getting rid of various vehicles, from sedans to large trucks — and in some cases, school buses used by NS’ maintenance-of-way and structures department.
Through "NS 21," the railroad’s initiative designed to improve business processes and customer service, and reduce costs, NS to date has eliminated 500 vehicles of all types, and plans to sell 500 more by year-end.
"We asked all departments to look at every vehicle they have and decide how to use them more efficiently," said Lee Ann Brooks, NS manager of fleet and material management, in a prepared statement. "In some cases, the departments decided it was best to dispose of them."
By reducing its fleet size, NS plans to reduce operating and vehicle maintenance costs, and avoid future capital expenditures.
"We expect to see annual expense reductions of up to $10 million with a 1,000-vehicle reduction in fleet size, and a revised vehicle-use policy," said Brooks. "In addition to other railroads, we're benchmarking other companies with large vehicle fleets, such as utilities and phone companies, to look for best business practices we can implement."


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