The Class I railroad notes that hundreds of railroad companies were built, merged, reorganized, and consolidated into what eventually became Norfolk Southern since 1820. NS itself was created from the consolidation of Southern Railway (paint scheme shown) and Norfolk and Western Railway in 1982. In 1999, Norfolk Southern acquired a portion of Conrail.
The heritage locomotives will represent most of the railroads that played significant roles in Norfolk Southern's history. The first units will be delivered this month, and all units are expected to be riding the rails by June 1, Norfolk Southern's 30th anniversary date.
"The heritage locomotives reflect the pride we take in our long and colorful history," said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. "As they travel through our system, these state-of-the-art units in vintage livery will serve as reminders to our customers, employees, and communities that the modern rail network that keeps America competitive today and into the future has deep roots in the nation's past."
Each paint scheme will be modified to fit contemporary locomotives while staying as true as possible to the original designs. Norfolk Southern employees in Altoona, Pa., and Chattanooga, Tenn., will paint GE ES44AC locomotives, while the EMD SD70ACe units will be painted at Progress Rail Services' facility in Muncie, Ind. The heritage locomotives will be used to haul freight across Norfolk Southern's 20,000-mile, 22-state network.