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Norfolk Southern Corp. will consolidate its Central Division headquarters operation in Knoxville, Tennessee, into three surrounding divisions by early November, the Class I announced yesterday.The consolidation will reduce the number of NS' operating divisions to nine from 10. Dispatching responsibilities now handled from the Central Division, which includes track primarily in Tennessee and Kentucky, will be divided among operating divisions headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama; Decatur, Illinois; and Fort Wayne, Indiana, NS officials said in a press release.The change will affect 50 employees in management, dispatching and clerical positions. Dispatchers will be offered an opportunity to transfer to one of the other three divisions or apply for vacancies across the NS system. Administrative and clerical employees will be offered opportunities to apply for vacant positions elsewhere, NS officials said.Current yard and field operations on the Central Division will not be affected by the headquarters closure but will be reassigned among the other three divisions. More than 250 NS employees will remain in Knoxville.The consolidation announced yesterday is part of NS' ongoing strategy to improve customer service and increase operating efficiency across the company. To learn more about the Class I's strategy, read this month's cover story in Progressive Railroading.