Norfolk Southern Ends Force Majeure

Norfolk Southern Ends Force Majeure

Norfolk Southern Railway lifted its force majeure service declaration early on Feb. 9 for traffic moving through eastern-U.S. areas hit hard by the huge weekend snowstorm.

The railroad earlier invoked the clause, for forces outside its control, so it would not be subject to normal delivery commitments to customers as it battled through a storm that left up to three feet of snow across a wide part of the mid-Atlantic region.

But on Tuesday, long after the snows stopped falling late on Saturday, NS repeated its earlier statements that the storm’s impact is affecting rail operations “in critical traffic areas in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast.”

In a notice to customers, NS said rail traffic moving through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and the Carolinas is affected, and told customers they should expect delays of at least 24 hours.

The region is still digging out many surface roads, including some leading to shipper docks. Heavy snows and overnight ice buildups can snarl track signals, interfere with equipment handling, cause trains to run more slowly and make it hard to get train and yard crews to and from their homes.

Meanwhile, that same region is bracing for another storm rolling in Tuesday afternoon from the Midwest, with the potential to bring another foot of snow.

Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com