US-based Norfolk Southern has reported a growth in revenue in the second quarter of this year, despite network fluidity hurdles.

In the three-month-period ended 30 June 2022, the firm’s railway operating revenues reached an all-time quarterly record at $3.25bn, but profits remained flat.

This is a 16% increase in revenue compared with $2.78bn in the same period last year, with a 20% surge per unit.

Higher fuel surcharges and pricing gains were said to be among the factors contributing to this growth.

Diluted earnings per share in Q2 2022 were $3.45 versus $3.28 in the prior year, while net income was unchanged at $819m.

The railroad operator’s income from railway operations rose 9% or $104m to $1.27bn.

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By GlobalData

“Offsetting the growth in income from railway operations were lower net returns on corporate-owned life insurance (COLI) and higher income taxes. Our share repurchase activity resulted in the percentage increase in diluted earnings per share that exceeded that of net income,” the firm said in a SEC filing.

Its railway operating ratio stood at 60.9%.

Inflation, service-related challenges, higher fuel costs, and reduced gains on property sales impacted operating expenses, which climbed 21% to nearly $2bn.

Norfolk Southern president CEO Alan Shaw said: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to service recovery. In the quarter, we made considerable progress on staffing and launched our TOP|SPG operating model, both of which are foundational to achieving our targeted service levels and long-term growth strategy. 

“Already we are seeing visible upticks in qualified employees and train speeds as a result of these initiatives, and we expect to see further progress on service recovery in the months ahead.”

This year in March, Norfolk Southern awarded a multi-year contract to Wabtec for upgrades to 330 locomotives.