North American rail provider Norfolk Southern has announced it plans to spend $2 billion in 2013 for capital improvements to its rail transport network, including $420m to acquire new locomotives, upgrade existing units and buy multilevel freight cars to handle increased automotive traffic.

Norfolk Southern reported that automotive freight was one of the intermodal growth categories that helped offset losses sustained in coal volumes last year.

As well as the purchase of automotive multilevel railcars, the $420m allocated for equipment spending will be used to purchase new locomotives and rebuild and upgrade existing units as well as purchasing intermodal containers and chassis.

“We continue to invest in the infrastructure, equipment, and technology necessary to provide the best possible service to our customers,” said the company’s CEO, Wick Moorman.

That expenditure includes more than $830m for roadway improvements, including the maintenance and replacement of rail, crossties, ballast, and bridges to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of the railroad.

Investments in facilities and terminals are expected to cost $203m and include the continuation of a multi-year project to expand Bellevue rail yard in Northern Ohio, the construction of a new intermodal terminal in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor initiative that aims to develop a major intermodal rail corridor running between Louisiana and New Jersey. The company is also working on the completion of a new locomotive service facility in Conway, Pennsylvania.

A further $84m will be spent on infrastructure improvements to increase main line capacity, accommodate traffic growth, and provide NS’ match for innovative public-private partnership investments.

The investment plans follow Q4 results from 2012 that showed improved volumes in automotive, chemicals and housing sectors.