Norfolk Southern transportation equipment


Whether you are moving automobiles or intermodal containers, agricultural products or specialty metals, Norfolk Southern offers the equipment that can handle it.  Our equipment teams go above and beyond to follow the highest standards for safety, securement, and service.  Select the type of shipment below to learn more about our equipment specifications, loading and securement solutions, and more.

Getting Started With Intermodal Containers

Norfolk Southern provides 53-foot containers for your use through EMP or TMX

Shippers and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) can get door-to-door intermodal services either using their own containers and trailers or our fleet of EMP or TMX containers.

EMP, our primary domestic equipment option, is a capacity and management program that provides access to over 40,000 domestic 53-foot containers and chassis that can be moved among lanes that cover every major market in North America.  This free running program allows one way moves without the hassle of an empty repositioning move.

Explore detailed equipment specifications in our Intermodal & Automotive Equipment Guide.

Learn more about How Intermodal Transportation Works.

Norfolk Southern intermodal equipment

Management of EMP and TMX equipment is managed via Blume Global Logistics

Blume is the EMP reservation system, and offers a single convenient portal to reserve container capacity in advance, view equipment availability in real time, track equipment, and maintain use and storage charges. Get started at: Blume Global Logistics.

Note: Certain commodities are restricted from moving in EMP or TMX equipment as described in the Restricted Commodities of the Norfolk Southern Intermodal Rules Circular.

If you are providing privately-owned containers and/or trailers

Shippers that use their own private containers should review this Intermodal DOWNLOAD EQUIPMENT GUIDE that provides the necessary information needed to ensure your standard container with trailer or tank container is compatible for movement on the Norfolk Southern rail network.

Norfolk Southern takes care of intermodal car supply via industry partners

Norfolk Southern provides intermodal railcars in various configurations to support loading of trailers and containers. Primary equipment types used include 40-foot and 53-foot well cars, and “conventional” cars for transportation of trailers.

Customers do not need to request or otherwise interact to utilize intermodal railcars. Norfolk Southern sources intermodal railcars from our strategic partner TTX Company, and distributes railcars across the network based on terminal needs and underlying traffic flows.

Visit the TTX Company to learn more about the main intermodal equipment types offered by TTX.

Norfolk Southern Intermodal

Using Equipment

Loading Your Equipment

Ensuring your freight arrives safely and damage-free requires preparation prior to loading your equipment.  To learn more about how to properly block and brace your shipment, visit Loading and Securement.


In addition, shippers and beneficial cargo owners should consult the Norfolk Southern Intermodal Rules Circular for more information.

Railroad workers rail car equipment

Equipment Damage or Loss

For more information on what to do when equipment is damaged or lost, visit Intermodal Damage, Maintenance, and Repair, which includes procedures for damage and repair for both private equipment as well as EMP-provided equipment, as well as information on railside assistance.

Railroad worker repairing equipment

Getting Started With Automotive Equipment

Norfolk Southern offers several railcar types for shipping cars or automotive parts

For finished vehicles, our Automotive team primarily provides both bi-level and tri-level equipment. Most of our bi-level and tri-level equipment is assigned to the "Reload" National Pool operated by TTX. For auto parts, we offer 60-foot plate F (high-capacity) boxcars.


Our Equipment Guide covers our primary equipment offerings. Note: specifications may vary over time as older railcars age out and new cars are added to our fleet. To discuss additional offerings and options, please contact

Automotive rail car

Using Equipment

Loading Your Equipment

Our team is with you every step of the way, working hard to deliver your shipments on-time and damage-free. Our Loading and Securement team provides best-in-class service, including detailed loading and securement plans, as well as customer visits and consultations.

Manage Equipment Issues

For any questions or issues around automotive equipment, please reach out to the Automotive marketing team. Your Norfolk Southern representative will collaborate with you to find the solutions that fit your needs.

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Getting Started With Industrial Products Equipment

Norfolk Southern provides a variety of railcars for your use

Our equipment team focuses on providing railcar capacity across a number of strategic, fungible car types that serve a wide variety of markets. The main car types for industrial products include:

  • High-capacity 60-foot plate F boxcars
  • 52-foot mill gondolas
  • Covered and open coil gondolas
  • 62-foot bulkhead flats and 90-foot pipe flats
  • High-capacity covered hoppers for agricultural commodities


Our Railcar Guide focuses on the main car types that Norfolk Southern is able to provide for customer use. Note: Specifications may vary over time as older cars age out and new cars are added to our fleet.

Rail industry container

Options for private equipment

Private equipment is generally defined as equipment acquired and controlled by a shipper. Private equipment may be necessary based on your commodity type, or on specific requirements you may have related to railcar specifications.

Depending on your requirements and associated equipment specifications, leasing your own railcars may be necessary. Norfolk Southern can help you reach out to key railcar leasing partners, if needed. Some customers may also consider bringing their own railcars.

Your marketing representative can work with you and other teams at Norfolk Southern to identify the best portfolio of options. Select your Shipping Industry to find the correct contact information for your shipments.

If you plan to use private equipment

Private equipment must be registered with Railinc via “Loading Authority” OT-57 and customers must show proof of ability to store equipment if not needed. Note that Tariff RIC6007-O applies.


Important Notes:

  • NS has the right to deny a OT-57 application for safety, mechanical factors, or inadequate customer storage space
  • Private equipment is subject to NS storage charges 
    NS may, at any time, require Customers to store the private cars they control, or move them offline at Customer's expense
  • All repair and maintenance will be handled in accordance with AAR rules


Termination of load authority on NS may occur at any time based on AAR Interchange Rules; expiration date of any applicable lease(s); age-out of equipment; inadequate provisions made for storage when equipment is not needed, and; mechanical or safety issues.

Using Equipment

Prepare to load your equipment

Our team is with you every step of the way, working hard to deliver your shipments on-time and damage-free. The Loading and Securement team provides best-in-class service, including detailed loading and securement plans, as well as customer visits and consultations.

Requesting railcars or moving cars into service

Visit Moving Railcars into Service to get details about Norfolk Southern digital tools for convenient railcar management. Customers can use AccessNS to order additional railcars and equipment, or to manage existing railcars.

Getting Started With Coal Equipment

Norfolk Southern has a fleet of more than 14,500 coal cars, including manual hopper cars for bottom-drop customers, gondolas for rotary dump service, high-cubic-capacity coke hoppers, and air-operated quick-discharge hoppers.


Over the years, our equipment team has replaced steel manual hoppers with new aluminum air-operated quick-discharge hoppers. We have also added twin-tub coal gondolas constructed of carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. These rugged, lightweight cars are compatible with all Norfolk Southern-served car dumpers and typical thaw shed operations performed by our customers.


Whatever your needs, our team is committed to providing safe and reliable equipment from our extensive fleet of coal hoppers and gondolas. Reach out to the correct marketing contact, found on our main Coal Shipping page, for more information about equipment for your business.