NS idles yard in N.C.; UP an engine shop in Ark.

Published: May 2, 2020

In a move that carrier officials said was in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, Norfolk Southern has idled the hump yard at Linwood Terminal in North Carolina, costing more than 80 people their jobs.

NS told Trains Magazine May 1 that the “unforeseeable business circumstances” caused by the coronavirus will result in 85 jobs lost this month at the site, which has been open since 1979.

Norfolk Southern announced first-quarter revenue of $2.6 billion and net income of $381 million on April 29. The carrier said it took a $385 million loss during the quarter as it sold off approximately 300 locomotives and is in the process of selling 400 more as part of its Precision Scheduled Railroading plan.

“We are taking hard looks at our yard and terminal network, testing what we can live without,” Chief Operating Officer Mike Wheeler said during the carrier’s first-quarter earnings call.

Read the article from Trains Magazine (registration may be required).

Union Pacific also has curtailed operations at an engine shop in North Little Rock, Ark., for reasons identical to those cited by NS, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, also on May 1.

Workers at the Jenks Locomotive Facility began to be notified on April 30 of worker furloughs. Carrier representatives declined to disclose an exact number of employees affected to the newspaper but said the carrier would re-evaluate operations in a couple of weeks.

Approximately 1,100 people work at the facility, the newspaper reported.

UP reported $1.5 billion in net income for the first quarter during its earnings call April 23.

Read the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s report.

Earnings data for the majority of Class I freight carriers will be published on the TD website next week.