Here's the CSX article in the Buffalo newspaper. Sorry, I meant to say Frontier yard, not Bison.
CSX Transportation said that traffic through the Frontier railyard will be cut in half. Some 200 to 250 layoffs are also expected.
Derek Gee / Buffalo News
Updated: 04/28/09 07:41 AM
CSX cuts back at Frontier Yard
‘Significant reductions’ are expected at the site
By George Pyle
NEWS BUSINESS REPORTER
In what a local union leader calls the culmination of years of “lies and false hopes” — and a bet against Buffalo’s industrial future — CSX Transportation Monday announced plans to sharply curtail switching operations at its Frontier Yard in Buffalo.
A company spokesman said managers had not yet settled on how many workers were to be let go. But union leaders said they expected some 200 to 250 workers to be laid off.
CSX spokesman Robert Sullivan released a brief statement that said the company expects “significant reductions” at Frontier, but said “there are no plans to close the yard at this time. While a small number of reductions will begin immediately, the larger number is not yet determined.”
The statement from the Floridabased transportation giant said that traffic through the rail yard, now some 800 cars a day, will be cut in half. Much of the traffic is to be shifted to Rochester and Syracuse in New York and to Ohio. Half of the cars being lost to Buffalo will still be processed in New York State, Sullivan said.
He said the moves in Buffalo are part of a company-wide review and reflect system-wide losses in business due to overall economic woes. Throughout the CSX system, which operates a 21,000 route-mile network east of the Mississippi River, 2,400 workers are on furlough and 30,000 rail cars are parked, Sullivan said.
Dave Kellner, president of Local 2020 of the Transport Workers Union in Buffalo, said the action is an abrupt reversal of what seemed to be the rail operator’s plans. As recently as six weeks ago, machinery and crews to upgrade the rail yard’s tracks and switching equipment were moved into place, only to be pulled out again a few weeks later.
“We used to be one of the busiest terminals around,” Kellner said. But, he said, ever since CSX took over operations from Conrail in 1998, with announced plans to expand local operations and add an upgraded fueling facility, the company’s interest in the Frontier Yards has seemed only to deteriorate. The fuel plant was built in Ohio instead and other improvements never came to pass.
“It’s been nothing but lies and false hopes,” Kellner said. “Somebody needs to be held accountable.”
Kellner also blamed the decline of CSX operations in New York on the state’s high tax burden.
Frontier Yard now employees some 800 workers, Kellner said, and up to 250 of them are expected to lose their jobs in the next few weeks. Another 125 workers had already been furloughed in recent weeks, he said.
Concern that the yard would be shut down attracted the attention of New York’s Sen. Charles E. Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins. The two members of Congress sent a letter to CSX CEO Michael Ward urging that the Frontier Yard be kept in operation. Schumer spoke with Ward April 16, leaving the senator with the “distinct impression” that the facility would not be closed altogether.
Acknowledging that Monday’s announcement was not the complete closing of the yard, as had been feared in recent weeks, Kellner said, “Does that just mean they are keeping the night watchman on?”