The Norfolk Southern Corporation is the holding company created in 1982 in the merger of two large railroad systems, the Norfolk & Western and the Southern. The Norfolk Southern holding company should not be confused with a railroad of the same name that ran from Norfolk, Virginia, to Charlotte, North Carolina. This railroad became part of the Southern System in 1974 and was renamed the Carolina & Northwestern in 1981.
The N&W was itself the product of the merger of several major railroads, including the Virginian, the Nickel Plate, the Wabash, and the Pittsburgh & West Virginia. The N&W served many coal mines in southern West Virginia as did the affiliated Virginian. The Southern Railway System was also a conglomeration of many smaller lines that were organized into the dominant system of the South in the late 19th century by the J. P. Morgan interests. The N&W was traditionally one of the most profitable railroads in the nation because of its heavy coal traffic. The Southern Railway was known for its efficient operations and its excellent safety record.
In 1999 Norfolk Southern and the CSX Corporation absorbed Conrail (the major railroad in the Northeast) and divided its lines between themselves. Norfolk Southern and CSX dominate rail transportation in West Virginia and throughout the eastern United States. The Norfolk Southern Corporation has 21,000 miles of track in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
This Article was written by Robert L. Frey
Last Revised on October 21, 2010