WALBRIDGE, Ohio — CSX Transportation’s Stanley Yard in Walbridge will be the next facility downsized under E. Hunter Harrison’s leadership. The decision to do away with hump operations at Stanley comes less than two weeks after the railroad made a similar business decision at its Tilford Yard in Atlanta.
Sources close to the railroad confirm with Trains News Wire that CSX will begin phasing out hump yard operations at Stanley this week with several train schedules changing in the next couple of weeks. The yard will be converted to flat switching only and will use existing tracks near the hump bowl.
CSX spokeswoman Laura Phelps tells Trains News Wire that Stanley’s closure is part of an ongoing effort to be more efficient and reduce operating costs.
Phelps says that 34 union positions are being eliminated at the yard and approximately 40 employees will remain.
“The decision to make these reductions follows a review of Toledo-area operations," Phelps says. "CSX has determined that by changing the way railcars are sorted at Stanley Yard, it will be able to process trains more efficiently, which will result in better service to our customers."
Those familiar with rail operations in the area say Stanley’s hump closure was inevitable under Harrison’s leadershi, due its proximity to another hump yard in Willard, less than 70 miles away.
Several freight trains originate in Stanley each day, including Q319 to Indianapolis, Ind., Q322 to Flint, Mich., Q392 to Detroit, Q394 to Cumberland, Md., via Willard, Ohio, Q507 to Cincinnati, Q509 to Chicago, and Q511 to Louisville, Ky. It is not yet clear if Willard will handle the additional trains or if they will continue to be flat switched in Stanley.
It is not the first time CSX has closed down its Stanley Yard. In the spring of 2004, almost thirteen years ago to the week, CSX temporarily shut down yard operations at Stanley, only to reopen a few months later in July due to freight congestion in neighboring rail yards.
Stanley is a former Toledo & Ohio Central Railway yard that opened in the early 1900s. It would later become part of the New York Central and Penn Central before Conrail assumed operations in the late 1970s. CSX acquired Stanley and other Toledo & Ohio Central trackage after the Conrail breakup.
Stanley Yard also gained notoriety in May 2001 when CSX SD40-2 No. 8888 escaped the yard unmanned with more than 40 freight cars in tow. The locomotive, later dubbed as “crazy eights,” operated more than two hours through northern Ohio before another train was able to stop the runaway consist.
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