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Norfolk Southern Corp. will trim 135 positions and reduce operations at its rail yard in Knoxville, Tenn., effective May 1, the Class I announced yesterday.The action is in response to lower traffic volumes and is part of NS' ongoing five-year strategic plan to improve efficiency, lower costs and support long-term growth, according to an NS press release.NS will idle switching operations at the yard, where freight cars from inbound trains are sorted by destination and assembled into outbound trains. The change will result in less train traffic, which reduces the need for personnel there. The Knoxville terminal will continue to serve as a hub for through-train operations and provide service to local customers, NS officials said.In addition, Knoxville will continue to serve as the headquarters for the railroad's central division, which includes 1,100 track miles primarily in Tennessee and Kentucky. Nearly 300 employees in Knoxville will continue to support division operations and traffic.NS currently employs more than 1,570 people across Tennessee, with nearly 850 miles of track across the state, intermodal terminals in Memphis, and a major rail classification yard and locomotive shop in Chattanooga.NS remains on track to achieve previously announced expense savings of more than $650 million and an operating ratio below 65 percent by 2020, company officials said.
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