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CSX Corp. will close its mechanical shops in Corbin, Ky., which will affect 180 employees, the company announced yesterday.The decision comes as the company continues to evaluate its network resources and match them to demand in a changing business environment, according to a CSX press release.The shops in Corbin were primarily used to maintain, inspect and service locomotives and rail cars for use in coal trains moving from Central Appalachia region to the East. The decision to close the shops and service center is the result of a reduced need for locomotive and car maintenance there because of a significant decline of the region’s coal traffic, CSX officials said.The affected employees in Corbin will receive at least 60 days of pay and benefits. Union employees also may have other benefits as a result of their labor agreements. Many furloughed employees will be eligible for jobs in higher-demand areas of CSX's network, the company said.Mechanical management employees at Corbin will be offered relocation opportunities as they become available, or will be eligible for severance benefits.About 100 engineering and transportation employees will remain at the Corbin location to support the rail yard, which will remain open, and train operations, which will continue.The Corbin announcement is the second time in a month that CSX said it would close facilities and lay off employees in the Appalachia region as a result of lower coal traffic. Last week, CSX announced it would reduce train operations in Erwin, Tenn., which will impact 300 contract and management employees.CSX's coal revenue has declined more than $1 billion over the past four years. The company attributed the decline to low natural gas prices and regulatory action.
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