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Norfolk Southern Reports Q1 2021 Results

Railroad achieves record low operating ratio

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Norfolk Southern Corp. has reports first-quarter 2021 financial results.

First-quarter net income was $673 million, diluted earnings per share was a first-quarter record of $2.66, and the operating ratio improved to an all-time quarterly record of 61.5%.

“Our steadfast commitment to improving productivity and executing our precision scheduled railroading strategy has propelled us to another record operating ratio performance while we grew revenues and earnings in the quarter,” says James A. Squires, chairman, president and CEO.

“Our first-quarter results demonstrate our team’s ability to deliver strong performance in the face of significant supply chain disruptions. The reopening of the economy provides meaningful tailwinds for continued strength in both the consumer and manufacturing sectors, and our long history of delivering sustainable transportation solutions for customers will continue to drive long-term value for our shareholders, customers, and the communities we serve.”

First-quarter summary

  • Railway operating revenues of $2.6 billion increased 1%, or $14 million, compared with first-quarter 2020, driven primarily by a 3% increase in volume.

  • Railway operating expenses were $1.6 billion, a decrease of 21%, or $433 million, compared with the same period last year.
    • Last year’s results included a $385 million non-cash locomotive rationalization charge as a result of productivity gains achieved through the successful introduction of PSR. Excluding the locomotive rationalization charge, operating expenses were down 3%, or $48 million, compared with adjusted operating expenses in the first quarter of 2020, driven by lower fuel, compensation and benefits, and materials expenses.
  • Income from railway operations was a first-quarter record of $1.0 billion, an increase of 79%, or $447 million, year-over-year.
    • Excluding the effect of the locomotive rationalization charge in first-quarter 2020, income from railway operations was up 7%, or $62 million year-over-year.
  • Railway operating ratio was 61.5% -- an all-time record.

About Norfolk Southern Corp.
Norfolk Southern Corp. is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 19,300 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers.

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