US rail company Norfolk Southern (NS) has decided to consolidate its three operating regions into two in order to streamline operations, drive profitability and support quality services.
The company currently manages train operations across ten operating divisions that are part of three larger operating regions, which are the eastern, western and northern regions.
In the US, Norfolk Southern’s network spans 22 states and it operates 20,000 route miles in these states.
From 15 March, Norfolk Southern’s network will be divided into northern and southern regions. The move is part of the company’s ongoing execution of its five-year strategic plan to save $650m of annual expenses by 2020.
The northern region will include the Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Dearborn, Lake, and Illinois divisions, while the southern region will include the Piedmont, Alabama, Georgia, Central, and Pocahontas divisions.
Each of the two consolidated regions will support 1,000 daily crew starts for long-haul train operations, connecting customers to global markets with freight rail that moves consumer goods, automobiles, coal, grain, and products essential to US households, businesses and industries.
Norfolk Southern executive vice-president Mike Wheeler said: "We are committed to aggressively controlling costs, while delivering the high levels of superior service that our customers value.
"Consolidating our operating regions will generate productivity savings, not only through right-sizing, but also by leveraging advancements in train dispatch technologies that support more fluid and efficient movement of freight across the network.
"As we continue to execute on our five-year strategic plan, we are confident that these steps will make Norfolk Southern a faster, lower cost, and more profitable railroad."
In January, the company consolidated its Virginia and Pocahontas units to form the new Pocahontas division, which became effective from 1 February. Headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, the Pocahontas division will be led by superintendent Charles Irvin.
It will include 2,581 route miles, mainly in Virginia and West Virginia, extending from the Port of Virginia to Portsmouth, Ohio, and from Bristol to Hagerstown.
In Roanoke, the company currently operates a local switching yard, locomotive and rail car maintenance and overhaul facilities, and a material yard that supports track maintenance gangs systemwide.