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Moving Your Dimensional Load

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Shipments of extraordinary size or weight may require additional rail capacity or resources. Follow the guidelines below to gain clearance for your dimensional load.

NS Clearance Request Form

Download XLS 33.2 KB
  1. Complete the online clearance request form and submit with a drawing of the lading to the NS Clearance Department via NS Web page

  2. The Clearance Department will process the clearance request.

  3. As a shipper, you must register for AccessNS and arrange for payment. For information on how to register, contact your marketing representative. A shipper can apply for credit with NS or arrange for prepayment by wire transfer. Payment conditions must be fulfilled prior to shipment. 

  4. The shipper is responsible for locating a suitable siding for (un)loading from the rail car prior to shipment. Contact Industrial Development to request a track inspection and permissions from transportation and engineering.  Shipper also must arrange for logistics of unloading at the siding prior to shipment, including site inspection for verification of crane and truck access, DOT permits to move load to final site, execution of a Temporary Siding Lease Agreement for hi-wide load, and providing a valid certificate of insurance.  You can reach the Industrial Development team at

Norfolk Southern certificate of insurance requirements:

  1. A certificate of liability insurance evidencing combined single limit minimum of $2 million per occurrence of general liability (note this may be achieved via an excess or umbrella policy)

  2. $1 million combined single limit of auto liability (note this may be achieved via an excess or umbrella policy)

  3. Statutory limits on workers’ compensation insurance

  4. The certificate of liability insurance should name Norfolk Southern Corporation and its Subsidiaries, Three Commercial Place, Norfolk VA 23510-2191 as the certificate holder

  5. The certificate of liability insurance should name the certificate holder as an additional insured on the general, automobile, and excess/umbrella liability policy.  If additional insured cannot be named on excess/umbrella liability insurance policy then it must state it “follows form.”

  6. The certificate of liability insurance must provide contractual liability coverage for operations performed within 50 feet of any railroad hazard. This typically is an endorsement to the general liability policy under ISO CG 24 17 10 01 or its equivalent.  (Sample wording: contractual liability insurance is of a form that does not deny coverage within 50 feet of any railroad hazard).
This documentation must be sent electronically along with associated track agreement to

Additional Requirements for Dimensional Shipments

  1. A temporary track lease document may be necessary in case the shipper is loading or unloading on Norfolk Southern property. A temporary track lease can be obtained with a valid certificate of insurance that is accepted by Norfolk Southern Risk Management. Temporary track leases are valid for 30 days and cannot be obtained more than 30 days from the shipments' arrival on the NS system whether it be at origin or interchange.

  2. For dimensional pricing questions you can contact marketing H&

  3. The shipper is responsible for the arrangement of loading and securement of flat car. If you are unfamiliar with loading rail flat cars, marketing can provide contact information for riggers familiar with the AAR Open Top Loading Rules. Damage Prevention and Freight Claims personnel work with shippers to ensure proper loading, blocking, and bracing. To help in damage prevention, impact tests, special studies and over-the road tests may be performed. Contact DPFC at (800) 742-6313 or

  4. As a shipper, you must complete the Internet Bill of Lading on AccessNS. Be sure to indicate that the shipment is dimensional/high and wide on the IBOL
    and include the NS File Number that was issued on your clearance approval. Origin, destination, and routing must match the preapproved clearance route. It is imperative that dimensional loads are not billed until clearances are accepted by NS Clearances. Safety is of utmost importance, and billing prior to an approved inspection can result in NS crews pulling an improperly secured load. The shipper is responsible for ensuring load is accepted prior to billing for movement.

  5. Once the car is loaded, shipper must contact NS Customer Service at 800-898-4296 to request a mechanical inspection. Ask for the representative who covers the geographic area where the shipment is being loaded. Mechanical inspection and finalized measurements are submitted to NS Clearances. If the finalized measurements are within dimensions previously approved by NS Clearances for this route, the dimensional load may be approved for forwarding. NS clearance files are valid for six months from date of issue.

  6. With AccessNS, shippers can trace cars across the network. Norfolk Southern now offers a ‘Text Alert’ feature with AccessNS! A Railcar Event Alert allows you to be notified via text message on your cell phone whenever a defined event occurs.

    Customer Service provides service 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached by calling 800-635-5768.

Railcars must be unloaded and released back to the railroad within 48 hours of placement to avoid demurrage and detention charges. The national tariff for these charges is available through North America Railroad Professional Services (RIC 6740-G). Additional siding lease payments may apply after initial free days expire. Refer to your specific Temporary Siding Track Lease Agreement for Hi-Wide loads where applicable