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Equipment Guide

Browse Equipment Guide

Click on the question below to view its corresponding answer.

How do I know which railcars to use to move my product?

Norfolk Southern manages, independently or jointly with other railcar owners, a wide variety of equipment types:

 

Intermodal

Intermodal trailers and containers are used to move finished goods via ship, rail, and truck. In rail transport this equipment is moved throughout our terminal network on specialized flat cars.

Trailer and container sizes and types vary, and customers can use their own or rent equipment from NS. After everything is loaded, the container or trailer is picked up and delivered to an NS intermodal facility, where it is planned for a specific train and moved to shipping ports or terminals for truck pick-up.

Explore site areas on requesting intermodal equipment including Fastrack EMP & TMX pricing, Intermodal domestic chassis registration, or contact an Intermodal equipment advisor.

 

Coal

NS has a large fleet of railcars for moving steam and metallurgical coal. This includes manual hoppers and gondolas for rotary dump service, high cubic capacity coke hoppers, and air-operated quick discharge hoppers.

Find out more about our Coal equipment fleet.

 

Automotive

NS provides railcars to move automotive parts, automotive frames, and finished vehicles.

Research our automotive railcar types.

 

Merchandise

If you are looking to ship goods in any of the following commodity areas:

Compare the railcar types available for loading in our merchandise equipment fleet, and discover which type satisfies your shipping needs.

 

Oversized Shipments (Dimensional Shipments)

Shipping a wide load? NS has a dedicated team to help you move your high and wide product on our network and across North America on specialized equipment.

How do I get railcars to move my product?

There are two basic options for railcar procurement:

  • You lease or purchase your own railcars and make them available to NS for movement. This type of equipment is known as “private” equipment

  • NS can provide a variety of railcars for shipments using NS as the originating linehaul carrier. Use of NS equipment is subject to NS terms and conditions.

An NS Sales and Marketing representative can assist you with the initial evaluation of equipment procurement options.

Please consult the Shipping Options page to locate the contact details for a representative that works routinely with the commodities you wish to ship by rail.

How should I load my product into a railcar?

Safe and efficient loading of lading into railcars is governed by standards issued by the American Association of Railroads (AAR). NS’ “damage prevention” team can work with you to determine the safest and most suitable loading pattern for your product, based on product type, equipment type and applicable AAR standards. Consult our Damage Prevention resources to learn how we can assist you with safe loading of your product.

How do I monitor and manage the railcars moving my product?

Contact NS Sales and Marketing

To get an overview of railcar management options and tools available when you ship with NS, please contact an NS Sales and Marketing Representative. Please consult the Shipping Options page to locate the contact details for a Representative that works routinely with the commodities you wish to ship by rail. Below is some introductory information to get you started.

Requesting Railcars for Loading

If NS provides you with empty railcars, you can request cars via the Car Order application in accessNS. If you do not have access to accessNS, please contact your NS Sales and Marketing Representative. If you do not have a Representative, please consult the Shipping Options page to locate the contact details for a Representative that works routinely with the commodities you wish to ship by rail.

Problem Resolution for Railcar Shipments

If you are experiencing issues with inbound or outbound loaded railcars, please contact our National Customer Service Center at 1-800-635-5768.

Local Delivery and Pick-up of Railcars

The Operations and Service Support (OSS) Team is responsible for helping you manage delivery and pick-up of railcars. If you do not know your OSS desk’s contact number, please contact our National Customer Service Center at 1-800-635-5768.

Railcar Management via our Online E-Commerce Tools

Norfolk Southern’s accessNS provides you a variety of tools (incl. PaceSetter) to manage railcars. This includes empty railcar requests for loading, railcar tracing, supplying bills of lading for shipment forwarding, and in transit diverting of railcars. If you do not have accessNS, please contact your NS Sales and Marketing representative. If you do not have a representative, please consult the Shipping Options page to locate contact information for a representative that works with the commodities you wish to ship by rail.

How should I report a railcar that is unsuitable for loading because it is damaged, dirty, or the wrong car type?

Norfolk Southern has an application available for customers to use to report these types of railcar issues. PaceSetter is currently available to customers located on the NS network via the web-based e-commerce platform AccessNS. If you do not have accessNS, please contact your NS Sales and Marketing representative. If you do not have a representative, please consult the Shipping Options page to locate contact information for a representative that works with the commodities you wish to ship by rail.

Customers that are served by NS but do not use PaceSetter, such as jointly served facilities, can discuss options in this area with their NS Sales and Marketing representative.

Customers that are not served by NS but request equipment from NS, can report railcar issues directly to a Car Management desk via phone (between 7 am and 4 pm EST, Monday to Friday), via e-mail (24/7). If you are a merchandise commodity customer, visit our merchandise equipment page to obtain the appropriate desk phone number based on car type.

Should you require immediate assistance after hours on railcar matters or indeed more general service matters, please contact the NS helpline at 1-800-635-5768. A comprehensive menu of options will then enable you to talk to the correct support team.

Can I reload inbound loaded equipment that I have just unloaded at my facility?

You cannot reload inbound loaded railcars that you have unloaded at your facility without first speaking to an NS Car Distribution representative. Reloading of railcars is governed by AAR industry rules. Please contact your NS Car Management desk to discuss reloading of railcars. If you are a merchandise commodity customer, visit our merchandise equipment page to obtain the appropriate desk phone number based on car type.

If equipment is used without permission, you may be subject to tariff violations issued by the entity that controls such equipment.

If you have a question on reloading after hours or do not know how to get in touch with Car Management, please contact the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-635-5768.