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Misty morning Caterpillar load


The NS corporate symbol is The Thoroughbred. Representing speed and reliability, The Thoroughbred is used on everything from marketing materials to locomotives. Over the years, several thoroughbreds have represented NS. 


David was NS' first Thoroughbred.

The first Thoroughbred was David. Introduced in 1982 after the consolidation that formed NS, David was featured in an ad called “From the Championship Heritage of Two Great Railways Comes Norfolk Southern Corporation: The Thoroughbred.” David would appear in future ads at various ages. 


Citizen-X was the patient Thoroughbred.

Early promotional films and videos featured another thoroughbred, Citizen X. To get ready for the camera, Citizen X remained patient while black shoe polish was applied over small white patches on his face and legs. 


Topper ran for the cameras -- and his girlfriend.

By the mid-1980s, Topper was introduced. Topper has done many photo shoots producing hundreds of images that are used still today. Occasionally, Topper didn’t run before the camera. When tasty treats failed, his girlfriend, Skipper, was strategically placed a few hundred feet away and always did the trick. 


The Thoroughbred becomes animated.

An animated Thoroughbred has been used on TV. It morphs into products the railroad ships: coal, grain, and steel. The animated Thoroughbred almost had his celluloid career cut short when rats in a Portland, Ore., studio ate the corn being used for his grain version.


More Thoroughbred facts:

  • The Thoroughbred has appeared in many locations: ocean surf, forest, mountaintop, icy stream, tall grass, on a giant pile of coal, on a farm, in the desert, in a bayou, and even Alaska.
  • In the early 1990s, NS designed a colorful Picasso-style rendition of the Thoroughbred.
  • Over the years, there has been a myth about the Thoroughbred. Some people believe company policy dictates he run to the right only. While the Thoroughbred faces right in the logo, he can run any direction he likes in photographs and illustrations.