CSX will close a locomotive service center, a project shop and a car shop — and eliminate switching operations — at its Erwin rail yard, the company announced today (see below). The decision is expected to eliminate around 300 jobs in one of the industries that helped establish the town. The company cited a combination of regulatory restrictions on coal and lower natural gas prices as the proximate causes for the decision.
First District Congressman Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, issued the following statement (the company’s release follows):
“I was saddened to hear that CSX would be closing their terminal in Erwin. My thoughts and prayers are with the good people of Erwin, especially the 300 men and women who will lose their jobs because of this decision. This is a huge blow to Unicoi County, whose unemployment rate has been consistently higher than the national average.
“This is just another example of how President Obama’s War on Coal is negatively affecting our region, and East Tennesseans deserve better.
“My office has reached out to state and local officials to look into job training programs and other resources that might be available. In the weeks and months ahead, I’ll continue to work to identify opportunities for these workers, and I encourage those affected to contact any of my offices if I can be of assistance to them or their families.”
CSX to Reduce Operations in Erwin, Tennessee
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – October 15, 2015 – As CSX works to match its resources to a changing business environment, the company today announced the reduction of train operations at Erwin, Tennessee.
The decision, the result of significantly reduced coal traffic through the region, includes closing a locomotive service center, project shop and car shop, and eliminating switching operations at the Erwin yard. Approximately 300 CSX contract and management employees who work at the facilities and in support roles will be affected.
Operations in Erwin primarily served coal trains moving from the Central Appalachian coal fields, and the diminished traffic levels no longer support the activities performed there. The combination of low natural gas prices and regulatory action has significantly decreased CSX’s coal movements over the past four years, with more than $1 billion in coal revenue declines during that time.
Affected employees at Erwin will receive at least 60 days of pay and benefits. Contract employees also may have other benefits available in accordance with their labor agreements. Many furloughed employees will be eligible for jobs in higher-demand areas on CSX’s network. Affected management employees will be offered relocation opportunities as they are available, or will be eligible for severance benefits.
CSX remains committed to delivering strong service to customers in the region. Remaining coal traffic, as well as merchandise traffic including grain unit trains, will be rerouted efficiently across other parts of the CSX network.
Across Tennessee, CSX operates more than 1,500 miles of track, with facilities that include its division headquarters and a major yard in Nashville.