The NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP., one of two major railroad systems serving Greater Cleveland, was organized in 1982 with headquarters in Roanoke, VA. The descendant of the Norfolk & Western and the Southern railways, it was composed of railroads with long histories in Cleveland. The Norfolk & Western, one of its component parts, had routes running as far north as Columbus, OH, until 1964 when it acquired the NICKEL PLATE RAILROAD (known formally as the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad), giving it entry to the Cleveland market. In taking over the Nickel Plate, it also acquired the old WHEELING & LAKE ERIE RAILROAD which had served Cleveland until 1947.

Cleveland was part of the Lake District of the Norfolk Southern's Pittsburgh Division with the district manager's office located at 1991 Crocker Rd. in WESTLAKE. Its operations in Cleveland were devoted exclusively to freight by 1986. There were 5 major freight yards in the Cleveland area: the main yard at E. 55th St., and 4 other yards at Chardon Rd.-E. 200th St., Campbell Rd., W. 110th St., and Broadway. The Broadway yard was used chiefly for piggyback shipments. In 1986 one of the road's largest customers in the Cleveland area was the CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING CO., for which it ran coal trains to CEI's Avon Lake, Eastlake, and Lakeshore generating plants (via the CONRAIL tracks). By 1988 its freight operation had moved to Canton and there was a Cleveland sales office. Norfolk Southern operated only the E. 55th and Campbell Rd. (in the FLATS) railyards by 1995, running an average of 20 trains and 175,000 tons of freight and coal through greater Cleveland each day. Its primary industrial customers were LTV STEEL and CEI In 1999, Norfolk Southern and CSX CORP, took over ConRail's operations nationwide, leaving two railroads in Cleveland.

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