Voters approve sale of Cincinnati Southern Railway to Norfolk Southern

On Tuesday, Cincinnati voters approved the sale of Cincinnati Southern Railway (CSR) to Norfolk Southern through a historic transaction that will bolster the company’s operations. The CSR, an approximately 337-mile railroad that runs from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, is one of the highest density segments of Norfolk Southern’s network and a critical line connecting the Midwest and the Southeast.

The CSR is owned by the city of Cincinnati, and Norfolk Southern already operates the railroad through its subsidiary, the Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway Company (CNO&TP), under a long-term lease agreement that first began in 1881.

The $1.62 billion purchase agreement was announced in November 2022 and, now that voters have approved, the transaction is projected to close in Q1 of 2024. Included in the transaction is the approximately 9,500 acres of land that sits under the CSR infrastructure that is maintained and operated by Norfolk Southern. As part of the agreement, Norfolk Southern will also donate to the State of Ohio approximately 20 miles of the east end of its Peavine Line, an out-of-service segment which runs from Rardon to Vera Junction.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to create an infrastructure trust fund that the City of Cincinnati will use to benefit its citizens for generations to come. The perpetual trust will be devoted to funding improvements to streets, bridges, municipal buildings, parks, and green space.

Norfolk Southern issued the following statement on the transaction:

“This is a victory for the citizens of Cincinnati. Current and future generations will reap the benefits of new infrastructure investments, helping to create a better future for the city. We appreciate all of the community leaders and groups who endorsed Issue 22 – especially Mayor Aftab Pureval, the City Council, and the Board of Trustees of the Cincinnati Southern Railway. We also thank the staff and volunteers who made this a successful campaign. Now, we will work with the city to finalize the sale, which we expect to close in Q1 of 2024.”