A KC railyard is closing, laying off at least 200

October 21, 2019 - 5:57 am

Kansas City, MO -  At least 200 people are losing their jobs after Union Pacific announced it will transfer operations away from Neff Yard in Northeast Kansas City.

For decades, the yard was busy and booming. Lately, though, it has been bustling a little bit less.

Trains Magazine correspondent and railroad expert Bill Stephens says that's due in no small part to the shifting winds in the railway freight industry.  
"Railroads are trying to do more with less," Stephens said. "Part of that involves reducing the number of times a freight car is handled en route, so you want to reduce switching."

This has been a long time coming for the rail-freight transportation. And a number of economic trends are creating the perfect storm, resulting in closures of facilities like Neff Yard all over the country. 

"Rail traffic overall this year is down, compared with last year," Stephens said. "There are some long-term trends that are against rail traffic right now. Probably the biggest is the decline in coal traffic."

You may notice fewer actual freight cars out on the rails as the industry struggles to adapt to major changes.

All this comes after new workers were offered big signing bonuses just last year. Now for those laid off?

They may find new jobs in the industry, but Stephens added that the rail workforce is advancing in years, and some may decide it's time to hang up their hats. 

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