Norfolk Southern details plan to improve railroad, cut costs

Norfolk Southern railroad expects to become significantly more efficient by 2021, and operate with 3,000 fewer employees and 500 fewer locomotives.

The railroad detailed its plan to continue improving operations Monday at an investor conference.

Norfolk Southern has been working to reduce costs and get more efficient since 2015, but other railroads, particularly eastern rival CSX, have cut expenses and overhauled operations more aggressively over the past several years.

Norfolk Southern plans to apply some of the same principles CSX has used successfully to operate its railroad on a tighter schedule with fewer cars and locomotives.

Edward Jones analyst Dan Sherman says he thinks the stock price already reflects Norfolk Southern’s plans. Sherman says Norfolk Southern’s success will depend on how well they implement the plan.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.