Norfolk Southern is no longer sorting manifest railcars and building blocks of cars by destination at its yard in Roanoke, Va., because it is uneconomical, the railroad announced last week.
The volume of general merchandise cars there has declined by about 30 percent since 2006, and the geographical location and layout of the Roanoke yard made it expensive to operate and redundant within the NS network, the railroad said.
The Roanoke Terminal will continue to serve local customers and be a hub for through-train operations, but won't classify single cars into groups for outbound transport. The Norfolk, Va.-based company said operational improvements in recent years have freed up capacity elsewhere in its network, making classification in Roanoke unnecessary.
NS has 28 other regional classification yards in its operating territory, east of the Mississippi River.
The move will result in the elimination of 140 positions, mostly railcar repairmen and train crews who conduct switching operations in the yard. NS said it expects to hire about 1,000 people this year because of attrition and would give the Roanoke employees first shot at those spots in other locations. - Eric Kulisch