One would guess that Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw’s head will roll soon. It should. The story reminds me of W.R Grace poisoning drinking-water wells in Woburn, MA and GE dumping PCBs into the Hudson.
Many are aware of the Norfolk Southern (ticker NSC), train derailment that occurred on February 3rd in East Palestine, Ohio where hazardous materials found their way into the environment in the form of hazardous solid materials and gases (the latter as a result of “controlled burns”). Safety in general does not appear to ever have been a priority at Norfolk Southern. I would not trust CEO Alan Shaw as far as I could throw him.
- Over the past two years (fiscal years 2021 and 2022), NSC has repurchased $6.5 billion of its stock and has invested only $1.3 billion in railway materials. Read that again: NSC has spent 5x on share repurchases as compared to railway materials to run its operations.
- The train that derailed (32N – nicknamed “32 Nasty” by rail workers), suffered mechanical issues days before the derailment. In one of the videos we posted below, a security camera shows the train’s wheels overheating. 32N carried 150 rail cars, approximately twice the industry average. 38 of the train’s 150 cars crashed into each other. Some of the cars burst into flames and damaged 12 additional cars. Five cars were tankers that contained vinyl chloride which is an industrial chemical used to make plastic. Vinyl chloride if breathed in through the air or ingested through the water supply can cause various types of cancers. More HERE.
- In one of the videos posted below, Ohio senator J.D. Vance speaks about Norfolk Southern asking Ohio residents to sign indemnification agreements.
- Norfolk Southern has a history of firing employees to cover up accidents.
- Norfolk Southern has suffered various operational issues post COVID including more train downtime, engineers being forced to work as train conductors outside of their employee agreements and other issues detailed HERE. These issues pre-date Shaw being named NSC CEO in May 2022, yet Shaw has been with the company since 1994 in various executive roles and is therefore familiar with the corporate culture and operational practices that have plagued the company for years.
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