Norfolk Southern Orders 1,500 Coal Cars

Norfolk Southern Orders 1,500 Coal Cars

Norfolk Southern Railway is ordering 1,500 high-capacity coal hauling railcars from FreightCar America, in an order valued at more than $100 million.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who announced the deal, said the coal cars will be built at FreightCar's plant in Roanoke, Va., and generate about 200 jobs.

The manufacturer last week said it had received customer orders since the start of this year to build 3,000 new railcars in 2011 and 2012.

McDonnell said manufacture of the NS coal cars will begin in May. FCA President and CEO Ed Whalen said the company will add jobs at Roanoke over the next few months to get ready to produce these units.

For NS, the order is "an important step in our long-term plan to rejuvenate our coal fleet," said Charles W. Moorman, the railroad's chairman, president and CEO. He said it also reflects "a rebound in the economy (and) supports a very important supplier to the railroad industry."

NS operates North America's largest coal terminal at Norfolk, Va.

Railroads have significantly increased their capital investments this year, including for equipment. A change in tax law for 2011 allows companies to expense against taxes the full cost of plant and equipment spending they make this year.

-- Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.