Removing Part of NE Ohio Industrial History
Chrysler Corp. opened a stamping plant in Twinsburg in 1957. At the time, it was said to be the largest facility of its kind in the world. It featured 28 lines of stamping presses that produced around 1,200 tons of finished parts every day.
Peak employment at the plant was 5,200 in the late 1960s. By the 2000s, that had fallen to 2,400.
By 2002 the plant had lines that made parts for the Neon, Durango and Ram. The company reported that in 2006 the plant had 2.4 million square feet of floor space and produced stampings and assemblies for minivans, Pacifica, Aspen/Durango, Ram, and Dakota, and every Jeep with the help of 228 robots and 1,760 employees.
The press room at the plant was the only producer of all Chrysler line front doors and rear underbodies in the mid-1970s.
Chrysler closed the stamping operation as part of a 2009 bankruptcy reorganization. In July 2011, the 167-acre facility was sold to two companies, one based in Independence and the other in Indianapolis.
Plans to develop the site called for about 62 percent of the 2.2 million square-foot plant to be demolished, leaving an 800,000-square-foot, “high-bay” section. The plant’s heavy machinery that remained has been sold.
Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee, who also is a conductor for Norfolk Southern, was working earlier this year on the job that has been removing some of the heavy machinery from the plant.
Accompanying this article are some photos that he took of NS crews pulling the stamping press loads out of the plant.
“I believe all loads you see in these photos are going to Mexico, routing NS to Kansas City, then BNSF to the border,” Durfee wrote. “While interesting, it’s also very sad to be removing what once were jobs — American jobs — from our local economy.”
The tall loads weigh between 250,000 and 300,000 pounds each and NS crews basically had to walk them out.
In a couple of the shots, the crews are spotting empty depressed center flats for additional loading. The overhead views are at the NS yard in Twinsburg and feature a variety of weather conditions.
The large machine seen framing NS No. 5829 was used to lift some of the parts and place them on the rail cars.
Photographs by Roger Durfee