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Norfolk Southern announces closure of Roanoke Distribution Center, transfer of Roanoke Locomotive Shop work

Norfolk Southern experienced a 48% decline in coal tons shipped since 2008, further declines expected

ROANOKE, Va. – Norfolk Southern announced major changes to two of its Roanoke operations on Tuesday.

The company will close its Roanoke Distribution Center and the transfer both the work and positions of its Roanoke Locomotive Shop to Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Despite the changes in the parts of Norfolk Southern’s operations, rail operations and more than 650 employees will remain in the Roanoke Valley.

Since 2008, Norfolk Southern said it has seen a 48% decline in coal tons shipped and expects to see further declines.

Norfolk Southern also has seen a 22% reduction in its locomotive fleet since late 2018, reducing the volume of locomotive maintenance and repair required to operate safely.

Due in part to these decreases, the company determined it could no longer support two heavy-repair locomotive facilities and determined that the most appropriate location on its network for its major locomotive facility is the shop in Altoona.

Norfolk Southern said all mechanical workers, about 85 people, will be offered the opportunity to relocate to the Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona and 19 clerical positions will be eliminated.

The company recognizes the valuable contributions of its employees and will work with affected employees to provide relocation benefits to those who choose to relocate. Furloughed clerical employees will have the opportunity to apply for available positions elsewhere on the NS system.

It is anticipated that affected employees at the Roanoke Distribution Center will continue working through approximately April 18, 2020, and personnel at the Roanoke Locomotive Shop through approximately May 18, 2020.

The following is a statement from Norfolk Southern:

Norfolk Southern today announced the closure of its Roanoke Distribution Center in Virginia and the planned transfer of the work associated with its Roanoke Locomotive Shop to Altoona, Pennsylvania. Roanoke Locomotive Shop mechanical employees will have the opportunity to transfer to the Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona and will be eligible for relocation benefits.

This difficult but necessary decision reflects the importance of ensuring the company maintains the right mix of people and facilities, in the right locations, to deliver exceptional customer service. This decision follows a 48% decline in coal tons shipped since 2008. Norfolk Southern also has seen a 22% reduction in our locomotive fleet since late 2018, reducing the volume of locomotive maintenance and repair required to operate safely.

We maintain a longstanding affiliation with the Roanoke area and the many generations of highly talented men and women who have worked for NS in Roanoke, which makes today’s announcement especially difficult. Norfolk Southern will continue its presence and operations in Roanoke, employing more than 650 people in the Roanoke Valley.


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