Posts Tagged ‘NS Moorman Yard’

NS Has Furloughed Dozens in Bellevue

December 4, 2020

The closing of hump yard operations by Norfolk Southern at its Moorman Yard in Bellevue has also resulted in layoffs for dozens of workers in recent months.

Dave Sabo, Bellevue’s economic development director, said he’s been told NS furloughed 22 electricians, 27 machinists and 22 laborers, leaving 10 machinists employed at the yard.

“If that was the case, we feel for those who lost their job or have been laid off indefinitely,” Sabo said.

The Sandusky Register reported that NS would not confirm how many workers in Bellevue had been laid off, but did say there have been staffing changes made there.

Hump operations in Bellevue were suspended in June as a result of the railroad’s shift to the precision scheduled railroading operating model.

PSR favors block swapping over the use of classification yards. Moorman Yard continues to be open as a flat switching facility.

NS at one time employed 700 workers in Bellevue.

NS spokesman Jeff DeGraff told the Register that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated plans to close the hump because of the lower car volumes.

NS Acknowledges Closing Hump in Bellevue

June 18, 2020

Norfolk Southern acknowledged this week that it is ending hump operations in its Bellevue yard and will use the facility for flat switching.

The move comes as NS continues to see a slump in its carload traffic.

An NS spokesman told The Blade of Toledo that some workers would be furloughed but did not say how many.

“This alteration will allow for greater efficiencies and customer service that achieves the goals set forth in the company’s strategic plan,” said NS spokesman Jeff DeGraff.

DeGraff said those furloughed would be given the opportunity to apply for positions elsewhere at NS.

NS had told shippers recently that it was reviewing operations at yards throughout its system in part in response to lower traffic volume and in part as it moves to the precision scheduled railroading operating model.

Thus far in the second quarter of 2020 NS merchandise traffic volume is down 32 percent.

The carrier had earlier closed the hump at its Linwood yard in North Carolina.

The yard in Bellevue, which is named for retired NS CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman, was expanded in eight years ago during a $160 million project that added another hump and classification bowl.

Moorman was the head of NS when the yard was expanded.

The hump in Bellevue was built in 1966 by Norfolk & Western.

Although NS has declined to say how many workers in Bellevue will lose their jobs, a social-media post from a private Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said it was 26 carmen.

Moorman Yard is the largest classification yard on the NS network and second largest classification yard in the United States behind Bailey Yard on Union Pacific in North Platte, Nebraska.

For now NS will continue to operate hump yards in Elkhart, Indiana, and at Conway Yard north of Pittsburgh.

Report Says Bellevue Hump to Close on Tuesday

June 14, 2020

Hump operations in Bellevue will cease on Tuesday said a report published by Atlantic Northeast Rails & Ports, a publication that covers railroads, ports and the shipping industry.

The news outlet posted on its Facebook page on Saturday that some block swapping and flat switching may continue at Moorman Yard.

Some switching and classification work now being done in Bellevue will reportedly move to Airline Junction in Toledo and Rockport Yard in Cleveland.

The report said 26 carmen positions will be abolished but six yardmasters will reportedly be retained.

The development comes five years after NS completed a $160 million expansion of Moorman Yard that included construction of a second hump and classification bowl.

Moorman Yard is the largest NS classification yard and the second largest in the country.

NS to Change Operations at Moorman Yard

June 5, 2020

NS trains classify cars at the hump in Bellevue in August 2015.

Norfolk Southern is planning to change operations later this month at Moorman Yard in Bellevue but has yet to say what those changes will entail.

The changes are part of a larger review the railroad is undertaking of yard operations throughout its system Chief Marketing Officer Alan Shaw said in a letter to shippers.

The letter indicated that NS has completed its review of Moorman Yard, which is the largest classification yard in the East and second largest in the country behind Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska.

NS may idle hump operations in Bellevue and convert it to flat switching.

Since 2008, NS has closed five humps including two in the past year as part of its transformation to the precision scheduled railroading operating model.

Closed were humps in Sheffield, Alabama, and Allentown, Pennsylvania. More recently, NS changed operations at Linwood Yard in North Carolina by taking the hump out of service and furloughing 85 workers.

NS Chief Financial Officer Mark George said during an investor conference last month that those moves would save $10 million to $15 million annually.

Aside from the move to PSR, NS is also being motivated by falling carload traffic, which has declined 33 percent to date in the second quarter.

In his message to shippers, Shaw said there will be service modifications later this month pertaining to Bellevue and that shippers would be notified of those changes.

“We are reaching out to affected customers directly over the next two weeks to discuss the planned changes,” Shaw wrote.

“We are especially mindful of first- and last-mile changes, and we plan on working closely with you as we implement these steps.”

Bellevue was a major terminal for the former Nickel Plate Road and its successor, Norfolk & Western, built a larger classification yard there in 1967.

NS expanded the yard in 2014 to add a second hump and classification bowl that doubled the yard’s maximum classification capacity to 3,600 cars a day.

Earlier this year NS Chief Operating Officer Mike Wheeler said NS was looking at its yard and terminal network with an eye toward determining what it can live without.

He did not officer specifics as to which terminals and yards must be closed or trimmed in size.

Although NS has suffered the largest decline in carload traffic among Class 1 railroads, its management has said that was because it is more closely tied to industrial sectors that have been hard hit by the economic downturn, including the auto industry and steel mills.

Shaw noted in his letter that NS was conducting a review of its network before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“The current economic disruption is a challenge for all of us, but we are using this time to find additional ways to streamline our operations,” Shaw said.

He said NS is seeking to make its network more efficient while “providing a platform for growth.”

This includes routing shipments more directly to their destinations with fewer handlings and classifications along the way.

Judge Rules NS Must Provide Noise Tests in Class Action Lawsuit Over Noise From Moorman Yard

May 8, 2018

A federal judge has ruled that Norfolk Southern must share results of noise tests at Moorman Yard with attorneys for parties who are suing the railroad.

U.S. District Court Judge James Carr ruled against NS, which had said it did not need to provide that information.

“Norfolk Southern, by its persistent lack of response, communicated an unstated message to its neighbors that it did not care, that it could and would continue to do as it wanted and that it had nothing to fear, no matter how many voices sought to be heard,” Carr said in his ruling.

The class action lawsuit was filed by a year ago by dozens of people who live near the yard and seeks to force the railroad to operate more quietly.

At issue is what the plaintiffs termed a constant loud shrieking, screeching and squealing of wheels against retarders as freight cars are going over a hump for classification in the bowl tracks below.

Carr ruled that the noise study conducted on the railroad’s behalf might help the plaintiffs.

He said that by refusing to hand out the results of the study NS is impeding the discovery process.

The tests in question were conducted in 2015 by Environmental Health and Safety Solutions LLC.

NS attorneys said in court that the railroad does not need to submit this information. Carr disagreed and said NS must produce the information in a timely fashion.

“I find that Norfolk Southern has failed to meet its burden of showing even reason to believe, much less probable cause, that it engaged to do noise testing,” Carr wrote in his ruling.

Representing the plaintiffs in the case is the law firm of Murray & Murray in Sandusky.

“Residents are unable to hold conversations, open windows or hear their televisions,” the plaintiffs said in the suit.

They have argued that the noise has decreased their property values, had adverse effects on their health and hindered their enjoyment of life.

The plaintiffs contend that sound levels routinely exceed 100 decibels, which is equivalent to a jet flying directly over someone’s head.

Lead plaintiff’s attorney Dennis Murray Jr. said the residents were fine with the noise that came from the yard before NS expanded it a few years ago.

“What they want is fair compensation for what has been taken from them, namely the ability to live peacefully in their homes and for the significantly diminished value of their property, as determined by a jury,” Murray said.

NS spokesman Jonathan Glass said the company “is reviewing the court order and has no additional comment at this time.”

Tanks Cars Catch Fire in NS Moorman Yard

May 7, 2018

Firefighters spent part of Saturday night battling fires in Norfolk Southern’s Moorman Yard in Bellevue after four tank cars caught fire.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office said that the fire started in a tank car that was leaking ethanol and then spread to three other cars.

The fire burned out after about two hours but firefighters remained on the scene until 1:30 a.m. to douse hot spots. No injuries were reported.

Helping Bellevue firefighters were eight other fire departments. Officials said the fire was triggered by a what appeared to be a mechanical issue, but they did not elaborate.

The fire began about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday in a receiving yard and there were no explosions or evacuations due to the incident. The yard reopened around 10:30 p.m.

Ohio Routes 4 and 99 along with some other nearby roads were temporarily closed.