NS to Cut RoadRailer Service to 1 Route

In recent years trackside scuttlebutt among railfans has been that Norfolk Southern was going to get out of the RoadRailer business.

It isn’t going to quite happen that way, but NS did announce on Friday that it plans to pare its RoadRailer operations to one route that will carry automobile parts between Detroit and Kansas City.

Other routes served by RoadRailers will be converted to container trains. In the process, NS expects to lay off by the end of the year about 200 of the 240 employees working for Triple Crown Services, which oversees the RoadRailer service.

NS said in a statement that the affected employees will be eligible for severance pay, job placement assistance and opportunities to apply for positions at NS.

“This change is a natural evolution in the business,” said NS Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Alan H. Shaw. “We want to retain the best of TCS in specific markets, with efficient door-to-door logistics and award-winning customer service.”

RoadRailers are reinforced tractor-trailer boxes that can ride atop a single railroad truck.

The concept has been around since the 1960s, but has failed to gain traction at most railroads, with NS being one of the exceptions. Triple Crown is the last major carrier to use RoadRailer trailers.

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