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NSC Norfolk Southern

Filed: 12 May 21, 5:15pm

 

EXHIBIT 5.2

[Letterhead of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP]

May 12, 2021

Norfolk Southern Corporation
Three Commercial Place
Norfolk, Virginia 23510

RE:Norfolk Southern Corporation Senior Notes Offering

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We have acted as special United States counsel to Norfolk Southern Corporation, a Virginia corporation (the “Company”), in connection with the public offering of $500,000,000 aggregate principal amount of the Company’s 2.300% Senior Notes due 2031 (the “2031 Notes”) and $600,000,000 aggregate principal amount of the Company’s 4.100% Senior Notes due 2121 (together with the 2031 Notes, the “Notes”) to be issued under the Base Indenture, dated as of February 28, 2018 (the “Base Indenture”), as supplemented by a sixth supplemental indenture, dated as of May 12, 2021 (the “Sixth Supplemental Indenture” and, together with the Base Indenture, the “Indenture”), between the Company and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee (the “Trustee”).

This opinion is being furnished in accordance with the requirements of Item 601(b)(5) of Regulation S-K under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”).

In rendering the opinion stated herein, we have examined and relied upon the following:

(a)           the registration statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-252723) of the Company relating to the debt securities and other securities of the Company filed on February 4, 2021 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) under the Securities Act allowing for delayed offerings pursuant to Rule 415 of the General Rules and Regulations under the Securities Act (the “Rules and Regulations”), including the information deemed to be a part of the registration statement pursuant to Rule 430B of the Rules and Regulations (such registration statement being hereinafter referred to as the “Registration Statement”);

(b)           the prospectus, dated February 4, 2021 (the “Base Prospectus”), which forms a part of and is included in the Registration Statement;

(c)           the preliminary prospectus supplement, dated May 3, 2021 (together with the Base Prospectus, the “Preliminary Prospectus”), relating to the offering of the Notes, in the form filed with the Commission pursuant to Rule 424(b) of the Rules and Regulations;

(d)           the prospectus supplement, dated May 3, 2021 (together with the Base Prospectus, the “Prospectus”), relating to the offering of the Notes, in the form filed with the Commission pursuant to Rule 424(b) of the Rules and Regulations;

 
 

(e)           an executed copy of the Underwriting Agreement, dated May 3, 2021 (the “Underwriting Agreement”), among the Company and BofA Securities, Inc., Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, as representatives of the several underwriters named therein (the “Underwriters”), relating to the sale by the Company to the Underwriters of the Notes;

(f)            an executed copy of the Base Indenture;

(g)           an executed copy of the Sixth Supplemental Indenture; and

(h)           the global certificates evidencing each series of Notes executed by the Company and registered in the name of Cede & Co. (the “Note Certificates”), delivered by the Company to the Trustee for authentication and delivery.

We have also examined originals or copies, certified or otherwise identified to our satisfaction, of such records of the Company and such agreements, certificates and receipts of public officials, certificates of officers or other representatives of the Company and others, and such other documents as we have deemed necessary or appropriate as a basis for the opinion stated below.

In our examination, we have assumed the genuineness of all signatures, including electronic signatures, the legal capacity and competency of all natural persons, the authenticity of all documents submitted to us as originals, the conformity to original documents of all documents submitted to us as facsimile, electronic, certified or photocopied copies, and the authenticity of the originals of such copies. As to any facts relevant to the opinion stated herein that we did not independently establish or verify, we have relied upon statements and representations of officers and other representatives of the Company and others and of public officials.

We do not express any opinion with respect to the laws of any jurisdiction other than of the State of New York.

As used herein, “Transaction Documents” means the Underwriting Agreement, the Indenture and the Note Certificates.

Based upon the foregoing and subject to the qualifications and assumptions stated herein, we are of the opinion that when authenticated by the Trustee and issued and delivered by the Company against payment therefor in accordance with the terms of the Underwriting Agreement and the Indenture, the Note Certificates will constitute valid and binding obligations of the Company, enforceable against the Company in accordance with their terms under the laws of the State of New York.

 
 

The opinion stated herein is subject to the following qualifications:

(a)we do not express any opinion with respect to the effect on the opinion stated herein of any bankruptcy, insolvency, reorganization, moratorium, fraudulent transfer, preference and other similar laws and governmental orders affecting creditors’ rights generally, and the opinon stated herein is limited by such laws and governmental orders and by general principles of equity (regardless of whether enforcement is sought in equity or at law);
(b)we do not express any opinion with respect to any law, rule or regulation that is applicable to any party to any of the Transaction Documents or the transactions contemplated thereby solely because such law, rule or regulation is part of a regulatory regime applicable to any such party or any of its affiliates as a result of the specific assets or business operations of such party or such affiliates;
(c)except to the extent expressly stated in the opinion contained herein, we have assumed that each of the Transaction Documents constitutes the valid and binding obligation of each party to such Transaction Agreement, enforceable against such party in accordance with its terms;
(d)we do not express any opinion with respect to the enforceability of any provision contained in any Transaction Document relating to any indemnification, contribution, non-reliance, exculpation, release, limitation or exclusion of remedies, waiver or other similar provisions having similar effect that may be contrary to public policy or violative of federal or state securities laws, rules or regulations or to the extent any such provision purports to, or has the effect of, waiving or altering any statute of limitations;
(e)we do not express any opinion with respect to the enforceability of Section 6.12 of the Indenture; and
(f)to the extent that any opinion relates to the enforceability of the choice of New York law and choice of New York forum provisions contained in any Transaction Documents, the opinion stated herein is subject to the qualification that such enforceability may be subject to, in each case, (i) the exceptions and limitations in New York General Obligations Law sections 5-1401 and 5-1402 and (ii) principles of comity and constitutionality.

In addition, in rendering the foregoing opinions we have assumed that, at all applicable times:

(a)the Company (i) was duly incorporated and was validly existing and in good standing, (ii) had requisite legal status and legal capacity under the laws of the jurisdiction of its organization and (iii) has complied and will comply with all aspects of the laws of the jurisdiction of its organization in connection with the transactions contemplated by, and the performance of its obligations under, the Transaction Documents;
(b)the Company had the corporate power and authority to execute, deliver and perform all its obligations under each of the Transaction Agreements;
 
 
(c)each of the Transaction Documents had been duly authorized, executed and delivered by all requisite corporate action on the part of the Company;
(d)neither the execution and delivery by the Company of the Transaction Documents nor the performance by the Company of its obligations thereunder, including the issuance and sale of the Notes: (i) conflicted or will conflict with the articles of incorporation or by-laws of the Company, (ii) constituted or will constitute a violation of, or a default under, any lease, indenture, agreement or other instrument to which the Company or its property is subject (except that we do not make the assumption set forth in this clause (ii) with respect to those agreements or instruments expressed to be governed by the laws of the State of New York which are listed in Part II of the Registration Statement or the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K), (iii) contravened or will contravene any order or decree of any governmental authority to which the Company or its property is subject, or (iv) violated or will violate any law, rule, or regulation to which the Company or its property is subject; and
(e)neither the execution and delivery by the Company of the Transaction Agreements nor the performance by the Company of its obligations thereunder, including the issuance and sale of the Notes, required or will require the consent, approval, licensing or authorization of, or any filing, recording or registration with, any governmental authority under any law, rule or regulation of any jurisdiction.

We hereby consent to the reference to our firm under the heading “Legal Matters” in the Preliminary Prospectus and the Prospectus. In giving this consent, we do not thereby admit that we are within the category of persons whose consent is required under Section 7 of the Securities Act or the Rules and Regulations. We also hereby consent to the filing of this opinion with the Commission as an exhibit to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K being filed on the date hereof, and incorporated by reference into the Registration Statement. This opinion is expressed as of the date hereof unless otherwise expressly stated, and we disclaim any undertaking to advise you of any subsequent changes in the facts stated or assumed herein or of any subsequent changes in applicable laws.

 

 Very truly yours,
  
 /s/ Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

 

DJG