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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

NS: A mostly promising first quarter


Norfolk Southern Corp. got off to a good start in 2003, setting a first-quarter operating revenue record of $1.56 billion, a increase of 4 percent compared with first-quarter 2002.

General merchandise revenue of $918 million rose 6 percent and intermodal revenue of $289 million, 7 percent, compared with the same 2002 period. Quarterly carloads increased 3 percent.

However, coal revenue of $354 million declined 1 percent compared with first-quarter 2002, primarily because of decreased industrial and metallurgical coal demand.

"[The] solid quarter … was achieved during a period of continuing economic slowness," said David Goode, NS chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "We are intensely focused on diverting freight traffic from the highways to the rails, reducing debt and costs, and strategically positioning Norfolk Southern to capture the opportunities for business growth as the economy rebounds."

NS' quarterly income of $85 million from continuing operations decreased $1 million, and operating expenses of $1.33 billion rose 5 percent compared with the same 2002 period because of rising fuel prices and severe winter weather conditions.

Those factors caused the Class I's quarterly operating ratio of 85.2 to worsen 1.0 point compared with first-quarter 2002.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/23/2003