Norfolk Southern service update to customers on PTC deadline

September 17, 2015

September 17, 2015

Dear Valued Norfolk Southern Customer:

I appreciate this opportunity to update you on an issue of importance to us both.

As you are aware, on October 16, 2008, Congress enacted the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, establishing an unfunded mandate to implement an interoperable Positive Train Control (PTC) system by December 31, 2015.  Despite massive efforts and already having spent nearly $1 billion toward meeting this arbitrary deadline, multiple issues outside our control make it impossible for Norfolk Southern, or any other Class I railroad, to meet the deadline. Website Insert Gathering of Professionals copy

U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. John Thune wrote Norfolk Southern on August 28, 2015, asking us to explain how our railroad and stakeholders will be impacted if Congress does not extend the deadline.  Jim Squires, our president and chief executive officer, responded in a letter September 9, 2015.  In Jim’s letter, which you may access from our website, we explained that we face the risk of serious financial penalties associated with enforcement of the PTC deadline.  In addition, enforcement of the PTC deadline exposes us to the risk of being deemed liable for any accident involving TIH traffic or passengers on NS after December 31, 2015, despite the fact that our railroad would remain every bit as safe after the arbitrary PTC deadline as we were before the deadline.

Most relevant to you as an NS customer, we outlined that we might be required to cease shipping TIH commodities and to decline to host passenger trains on our network effective January 1, 2016, as the only complete solution to the risks of non-compliance.  Ceasing to haul TIH commodities would be disruptive to our customers and could have negative downstream impacts on supply chains that ripple through the U.S. economy.  Of course, we are working diligently with Congress to avoid this potential shutdown of rail services, and we would not take such drastic action lightly.

NS remains committed to installing a fully functional and interoperable PTC system on our rail network as quickly as reasonably and safely possible.  We deeply regret the impact this unrealistic deadline could have on our customers.

We appreciate your interest in the PTC issue and will keep you informed as this situation develops.


Alan Shaw

Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

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