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A grand re-opening: FreightCar America refurbishes former NS shop to build array of freight cars


In an event symbolizing the resurgence of the North American rail-car market, FreightCar America Inc. this morning officially opened a freight-car manufacturing facility in Roanoke, Va.

FreightCar America is leasing the facility from Norfolk Southern Corp. and spent $5.5 million refurbishing the shop, which NS shuttered in 2001. FreightCar America plans to produce a broad range of freight cars at the upgraded facility.

On hand to help FreightCar America’s Roanoke employees commemorate the re-christening were NS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Goode; Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Michael Schewel; Roanoke City Manager Darlene Burcham and Mayor C. Nelson Harris; and FreightCar America President and CEO John Carroll Jr.

“Reopening these shops is important for Norfolk Southern as well as the city of Roanoke,” Goode said in a prepared statement. “We are happy to have a leading freight car builder in FreightCar America as our tenant.”

FreightCar America expects to employ 400 people in Roanoke. So far, both the hiring and new-car production processes are “ramping up faster than expected,” said FreightCar America Senior Vice President of Operations Ken Bridges.

Formerly Johnstown America Corp., FreightCar America builds coal, flat, intermodal and coil steel cars, mill gondolas and motor vehicle carriers. The Chicago-based builder, whose April initial public offering of 9.775 million shares netted $86 million, also manufactures cars in Danville, Ill., and Johnstown, Pa.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/9/2005