The cars will be produced at FreightCar America’s facility in Roanoke, bringing about 200 jobs to the site.
NS chief executive Wick Moorman said the purchase was good news for the rail company on several levels.
"It's an important step in our long-term plan to rejuvenate our coal fleet, it's a recognition of a rebound in the economy, it supports a very important supplier to the railroad industry, and it brings jobs back to Roanoke, a city that's very important to us," he said.
FreightCar America president Ed Whalen said the transaction reflected an upturn in production activity for the company’s facility.
“We are very pleased to be selected to meet Norfolk Southern's demand for coal cars in these difficult economic times,” he said, adding that the new employees would start over the next few months.
The timeline for the completion of the coal cars was not provided.
NS operates North America's largest coal terminal at Norfolk. Overall, it covers 20,000 route miles in 22 US states, and is the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern region of the nation.