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Published: Saturday, 2/7/2004

Stanley Yard may hit end of the line

CSX Transportation Corp. is almost certain to phase out switching operations at one of its two Lake Township railyards this spring, moving at least some of the work to the neighboring yard, a spokesman for a railroad labor union said.

Stanley Yard, where freight cars are sorted 16 hours a day, will be reduced to a four-track storage facility by sometime in April, said Frank Wilner, a spokesman for the United Transportation Union, which represents certain train service employees at the yard.

Mr. Wilner said his information came directly from a CSX management official he spoke to after being contacted by a reporter. He declined to give the official s name other than to say he was in the labor department.

The yard s fate has been the subject of extensive speculation among railroad workers for several months, particularly after CSX began expanding nearby Walbridge Yard late last year and, early last month, eliminated the overnight shift at Stanley and rerouted several trains to other terminals.

“It s about a 98 or 99 percent probability, we ve been told,” Mr. Wilner said.

David Hall, a CSX spokesman in Lexington, Ky., declined to confirm or deny the report, and attributed any change in work being performed at Stanley to reduced business.

CSX is in the process of reorganizing its operations, Mr. Hall said, and anticipates finalizing a plan of changes during the first half of this month.

“Until then, I can t comment on the impacts on facilities or employees,” he said.

Mr. Wilner said 29 employees represented by the UTU or the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers would be affected by a closing at Stanley, but that all are expected to be able to transfer to Walbridge Yard, which parallels Stanley a mile to the east.

John Bentley, a spokesman for the engineers union, said he had heard only scuttlebutt from union members, but the information matched what Mr. Wilner said he was told.

Mr. Hall declined to say what the employment total is at Stanley.

- DAVID PATCH



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