The Roanoke hump operation has seen a steady decline in the volume of general merchandise cars handled by about 30% since 2006, NS said. At the same time, system-wide improvements in the railroad's operations have freed up network capacity such that classification operations now performed at Roanoke are no longer necessary.
"The employees who work at Roanoke are dedicated and efficient," said Terry Evans, vice president transportation. "But the geographical location and layout of the hump yard make it not only expensive but redundant within our network."
Most of the affected positions are carmen, who inspect and repair railcars, and train crews, who conduct switching operations in the yard. Some track maintenance positions are affected.
System-wide, Norfolk Southern anticipates hiring between 850 and 1,150 employees in 2013 to keep up with attrition. These positions will first be offered to employees affected by the Roanoke change and employees furloughed at other locations.
While Roanoke will no longer serve as a regional classification yard, Norfolk Southern, which currently employs about 1,870 in Roanoke, will continue its presence in the area. In addition to the remaining terminal operations, Norfolk Southern will continue to employ workers at its Shaffers Crossing locomotive and car shops, its East End Locomotive Shops, the Roanoke Material Yard, and maintain headquarters for the Virginia Division and a corporate presence at its office building on Franklin Road, NS said.