Fifty-eight furloughed at Norfolk Southern yard in Tenn.

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern plans on improving the vertical clearance of the Merchant Bridge in Pittsburgh.
Norfolk Southern

Layoffs continue to be part of the equation for Class 1 railroad companies in the U.S. Norfolk Southern announced 58 workers have been furloughed in the DeButts yard in Chattanooga, Tenn. Norfolk Southern says the cuts will effect its diesel shop operations as the market continues to experience a drop in diesel engine use.

“In today’s rapidly changing environment, Norfolk Southern continues to focus on ensuring that we have the optimal number of people and assets at every location across our system in order to operate safely and efficiently,” Norfolk Southern said in a statement. “Consistent with our strategic plan and current business levels, our ability to streamline operations and use fewer locomotives has required the difficult but necessary decision to reduce our locomotive mechanical forces due to the decreased demand for locomotive maintenance and repair.”

Norfolk Southern has now reduced its workforce by over 400 during the last few months. Almost 300 employees were furloughed in September in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Those who were furloughed in the DeButts yard will have the opportunity to take on different positions with Norfolk Southern.

Two years ago, 74 jobs were eliminated at the DeButts yard when Norfolk Southern eliminated its gravity-based “hump” system used to build train alignments. The yard hump was reopened in 2018 to handle a rise in traffic, but volume has been on the decline during 2019.

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