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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Norfolk Southern to end Chattanooga hump yard operations NEWSWIRE

Norfolk Southern to end Chattanooga hump yard operations NEWSWIRE

By | May 22, 2017

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Norfolk Southern will do away with its hump yard operations at its DeButts yard in Chattanooga, the Times Free Press reports. The decision to close down its hump yard operations will result cut about 74 of the 495 jobs assigned to the facility.

The job cuts affect 42 car repair employees, 23 conductors and engineers, and nine engineering track workers, NS spokesperson the newspaper reports, citing a Norfolk Southern representative.

The representative says that even though the hump is closing, operations at the yard will continue and that the decision to close down the hump yard is a reflection of NS’ strategic business plan that constantly evaluates system operations and rail traffic patterns.

This isn’t the first time the railroad has scaled back operations at its hump yards in Tennessee. In April 2016, NS announced it would cut back hump yard operations at its John Sevier Yard in Knoxville, Tenn. The business decision resulted in the loss of 135 jobs.

Closing down hump yards is no foreign concept to East Coast railroads in recent months. Since E. Hunter Harrison took the top spot at CSX Transportation in March, the Jacksonville, Fla.,-based railroad has closed five yard humps and converted the yards to flat switching operations.

NS’ DeButts yard is a former Southern Railway yard named after Southern Railway President Harry A. deButts.

17 thoughts on “Norfolk Southern to end Chattanooga hump yard operations NEWSWIRE

  1. Didn’t see this one coming! That’s a pretty big change in the operating plan. Conway and/or Sheffield wouldn’t have surprised me. I guess Bellevue is picking up a good chunk of the slack with the Macon, Birmingham and Macon.

    Chattanooga is a good, natural block swap location, though.

    This is even more shocking than CSX ans Selkirk.

  2. I once stayed in a motel across the highway from the Chattanooga yard. The screeching of the retarders on the cars’ steel wheels kept me awake all night. :>(

  3. It’s quite apparent that most of those commenting have no clue as to the necessity of hump yards today, as I stated in several posts about CSX closing down humps, even if you were to multiply your loose carload business by a factor of 10 you still wouldn’t need 8 – 12 hump yards. You could get away with a single hump yard per region and have the rest flat switching and do block swapping, even without EHH background on operations this is just common sense. With NS I’d say they could go down to 4 or 5 hump yards and be just as efficient if not more so, CSX can do with 3…anyone could have had the foresight to see this change coming.

    HEY guys N gals we have a budding HH on the horizon
    His common CENTS comments make CENTS
    Having been in MIDDLE MANAGEMENT with CN for 15 of my 40 years
    we are noT ARMCHAIR QTR BACKS………….

  5. At least NS is smart enough to do what’s right – without having to bring in Harrison – and paying him a big chunk of the “savings”.

  6. Sonofabitch! Two yards in as many weeks in my own back yard closed down.

    @JOHN ADORJAN – I wasn’t aware that there were any lodges in the vicinity of hump/retarder area, just a lot of old industrial buildings on one side and the P.J.’s on the other. If you were staying in a motel in that area on either side of the Bowl, then you truly are a brave individual who enjoys risking his life. Or maybe you were looking for a little entertainment of a different variety, ehh?

  7. Who can tell us What jobs are cut and what other costs are eliminated when hump operations are converted to flat switching? The cuts of cars are much smaller in flat switching and therefore switching is more time consuming, There is much more slack action as cars are accelerated and then slowed or stopped (more damage?). More fuel is used to start and stop the cuts. There is more wear on the loco’s used to switch these cuts of cars. It doesn’t strike me as without offsetting costs.

  8. It seems like a “herd mentality” has taken over railroads in the east. CSX does something and now NS wants to follow suit just to keep up, whether it really makes sense or not.

  9. Copy Kat ! …..& most likely more copying to ….
    are we going to blame this on the railroad genius Hunter ?

  10. I thought Sheffield was the marginal one too. Just run the Memphis gateway traffic through a bit farther to Birmingham or… …DeButts. Guess not.

  11. The jobs are not lost. Seniority takes you anywhere you might want to go. If you’re at the bottom why you may even have to move to a different city but you have a job. Nature of the beast and c’est la vie. Been there done all that.

  12. this is why this country is going down the tubes stupid people getting rid of hump yards is a mistake it does not cut jobs it make more instead of one engineer you now need three to five to keep up with the schedule try using just one to do this it will take all day to put five or more trains together where you can do the same job in hours with a hump yard

  13. My friend Rob Gagliano works for BASF and he heard rumors about this hump yard shutting down

  14. Hump yards, how many? If I have my facts down it would seem that most of these hump yards were built long before the merger era of class one railroads. These yards were built for railroads that no longer exist due to the mergers. Whether we like it or not consolidations follow mergers. The growing number of unit trains have also contributed. Pre blocking is also common today. Are CSX and NS right about what they are doing? I don’t know, but I would hope they have studied their routing and traffic needs. Like it or not, railroading continues to move forward in the 21rst century as have all of industry.

  15. And they just opened a newly expanded yard in Bellevue, Ohio Wick Moore Yard about a year or so ago… wonder how long before a decision to “downsize” it comes out of Norfolk?

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