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October 24, 2018 12:45 PM, EDT

Norfolk Southern Sets 3Q Record for Net Income

Company Also Sets Record for Three Other Performance Measures
Norfolk Southern TT File Photo

Norfolk Southern Corp. joined the list of freight rail carriers reporting record financial results for the third quarter.

The Norfolk, Va.-based railroad said it set records for net income, earnings per share, operating income and operating ratio when it made its report public Oct. 24.

Net income was $702 million, compared with $506 million in 2017, an increase of 39%. Diluted earnings per share of $2.52 marked a third-quarter record and a 44% increase over $1.75 in 2017.

Norfolk Southern said operating revenue for the quarter was up 10% year-over-year, to $2.94 billion compared with $2.67 billion in the year-ago period. Revenue increased 9% in the largest category, transporting merchandise. Intermodal was up 20%, and coal increased a modest 3%.

The company said its operating ratio was 65.4, a year-over-year improvement from 65.9 in 2017. Operating ratio, or operating expenses as a percentage of revenue, is a key industry metric used to measure efficiency. The lower the ratio, the greater the company’s ability to generate profit.

“Norfolk Southern continues to deliver record financial results that reflect our careful and determined pursuit of a balanced and flexible strategy,” CEO James Squires said. “Our demonstrated progress toward the goals of our strategic plan is significant, and our ongoing pursuit of new initiatives to benefit customers and shareholders will strengthen our organization.”