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In a service update to customers, Norfolk Southern Railway announced earlier this week that the railroad is examining its individual yards for ways to streamline operations.
The review is part of the Class I's strategic plan launched last year to create a more efficient and responsive railroad, but also is in response to lower volumes resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
"That [strategic] plan was well underway and achieving significant results before the outbreak of COVID-19. The current economic disruption is a challenge for all of us, but we are using this time to find additional ways to streamline our operations," wrote Alan Shaw, NS' executive vice president and chief marketing officer, in the service update.
In making the network more efficient while "providing a platform for growth," the railroad is routing shipments more directly to their destinations, with fewer handlings and classifications along the way, the update stated.
NS' Linwood hump yard in North Carolina was the first to be reviewed as part of the streamlining.
"After a thorough review, we completely redesigned our train operations and work activity. Today, our service in the region is more fluid," Shaw wrote. "We recently completed a similar review of Bellevue yard in northern Ohio, which will result in a series of service modifications later this month."
The Class I plans to consider similar opportunities throughout the summer.
In regards to the Linwood facility, NS announced last month it would idle the hump yard and eliminate 85 jobs because of a sharp traffic decline caused by the pandemic, The-Dispatch.com reported. Linwood Terminal will continue providing switching service to local customers, an NS representative said in a statement provided to the news site.