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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

NS sets coal volume record in the second quarter


Intermodal moves have been strong for Norfolk Southern Railway this year, but coal traffic remains the Class I’s bread and butter. During the second quarter, NS moved a record 45.7 million tons of coal — up 3.9 percent compared with second-quarter 2004 and the highest quarterly volume since the 1999 Conrail integration. The second-quarter volume bested NS’ previous record, set in first-quarter 2001, by 1.9 percent.

NS officials attribute the volume increase to utilities rebuilding stockpiles, a new coke plant receiving coal shipments and a domestic metallurgical coal market showing growth in the first half, according to the Class I’s September newsletter.

During the second quarter, NS also moved a record 47.3 million tons of coal, coke and iron ore, a 2.6 percent increase compared with the previous high-water mark set in fourth-quarter 2004. The railroad has set coal, coke and iron ore volume records in two of the past three quarters.