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At least 90 workers who lost jobs when the hump yard closed will be offered other positions.
KYLE GREEN | The Roanoke Times
Norfolk Southern has virtually cleared its Roanoke hump yard, a matrix more than 50 tracks wide used for assembling trains for about 100 years. It was shut down earlier this month for efficiency, eliminating a piece of Roanoke’s role in freight railroading.
Norfolk Southern hitched together trains since early last century at its Roanoke hump yard. Cars are pushed under engine power to a high spot at the left side of the yard, known as the hump, and from there roll downhill to couple with their assigned train.
Friday, March 29, 2013
A significant number of Norfolk Southern Corp. personnel who lost railroad jobs in the closure of Roanoke’s hump yard could get new jobs at the company.
NS has given jobs to or expects to have jobs available for at least 90 of the 140 affected employees, railroad spokesman Robin Chapman said.
And “we expect there will be more,” Chapman said.
Employees would have to agree to leave Roanoke for some of the positions. For instance, seven signalman positions were abolished at the hump yard.
The railroad has opened seven new positions for signalmen, though some are in Bluefield, W.Va., Chapman said.
In addition, in the mechanical department, 14 employees were appointed to positions in Lynchburg and Kenova, W.Va.; 29 signal construction positions will be available in April and May; and another 40 will be available in June and July, Chapman said.
The latter 69 jobs require travel to an out-of-area work location, though the employees could continue to live in Roanoke, he said.
NS said Feb. 25 it would close its Roanoke hump yard for hitching together the cars of trains because it could do the coupling more efficiently at other locations.
The hump will stay open for the benefit of local train customers, but its days as a regional railroad pivot point are over, the railroad said.
A short time later, people who live and work in the area noticed a drop in train traffic across a wide matrix of track between Hurt Park and Shenandoah Avenue Northwest as the yard — which dates to near the beginning of the last century — emptied out.
“Almost every day, they were building trains out there,” said Mac Lloyd, vice president of the contracting company Varney Inc., whose office window overlooks the yard. “Now it’s all empty, and all that noise is gone. They called it the hump. I called it the bump.”
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