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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF furloughs 140 mechanical department workers


Here’s another sign of the hard economic times: BNSF Railway Co. furloughed 140 mechanical department employees last Thursday because of reduced traffic volumes. The layoffs account for about 2 percent of the Class I’s mechanical workforce.

"We truly regret furloughing these employees; however, our volumes are down more than 10 percent so far this year and this reduces our mechanical maintenance requirements," said Chris Roberts, BNSF’s vice president of mechanical and value engineering, in an item posted on the “BNSF News” Web site. “Currently, BNSF has more than 650 locomotives and 35,000 freight cars in storage because of reduced volumes.

As the economy recovers and volumes increase, BNSF plans to begin calling furloughed employees back to work. The Class I has transitioned some contractor work to in-house, and accounted for actual and anticipated retirements to reduce the number of furloughs, BNSF said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/3/2009