Document and Entity Information (USD $)
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2010
Jan. 31, 2011
Jun. 30, 2010
Document and Entity Information      
Document Type 10-K    
Amendment Flag false    
Document Period End Date Dec. 31, 2010    
Entity Registrant Name NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP    
Entity Central Index Key 0000702165    
Entity Current Reporting Status Yes    
Entity Voluntary Filers No    
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31    
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2010    
Document Fiscal Period Focus FY    
Entity Filer Category Large Accelerated Filer    
Entity Well-known Seasoned Issuer Yes    
Entity Public Float     $ 19,511,714,775
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   356,109,351