Norfolk Southern (NS) said the idling of the yard and the new focus on flat switching “will allow for greater efficiencies and customer service” as Norfolk Southern (NS) rolls out its strategic operations plans. The business disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the need to compensate for lower car volumes, NS said.
The eastern U.S railroad notified workers last week of the changes, and furloughed employees may have the opportunity to apply for other available positions, NS said.
A hump yard, or classification yard, is where trains are divided and sorted according to their destinations using a hill or “hump” to connect cars together. Flat switching also involves dividing and sorting railcars, but instead of using gravity and hills to connect cars, locomotives are used to create trains.
The yard in Bellevue was once NS’ largest train classification yard of 11 primary classification yards, according to a June 2015 release. The yard was named the Moorman Yard after retired NS CEO Charles W. “Wick” Moorman.
In its heyday, the yard, which underwent a $160 million expansion that started in 2012 to double its size, sorted about 3,200 carloads daily due to its location midway between Chicago and New York.