DuPont Co. has filed suit against Norfolk Southern Corp., seeking damages for rail-service breakdowns following Norfolk's operation of parts of the former Conrail -- breakdowns that resulted in more business for the trucking industry.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the suit was filed last week in a Virginia District Court accusing Norfolk Southern of breaching its contract with DuPont to provide timely, uninterrupted and reliable service. The Wilmington, Del., chemicals manufacturer said the rail-service snafus caused DuPont to slow production lines, use more expensive substitute transportation and acquire substitute materials at higher costs.
Disruptions affected almost a dozen plants in the company’s nylon, fluoroproducts and chemicals-solutions businesses, among others, and occurred from June 1, 1999, through the present, said Dupont spokesman Clif Webb.
The lawsuit comes after several years of increasing customer frustration with rail service following big railroad mergers and customers' inability to persuade Congress or federal regulators to promote more competition in the rail industry.