CSX is laying off 180 people at its Corbin facility.
Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney said CSX officials contacted him Tuesday morning about the layoffs and closing of the locomotive shop, service center and car shop.
“The only things they will have down here is yard traffic,” McBurney said.
Rumors have abounded in recent days about possible layoffs at the facility and closing of some operations at the Corbin yard.
“They just walked in this morning and shut the doors,” said one source close to CSX.
Another source indicated the number could exceed 200, 174 from the locomotive shop, 25 at the car shop and 15 clerks.
“We are told they are going to keep 10 carmen for the yards,” the second source stated.
The lost jobs represent about 50 percent of total employment at the Corbin facility.
CSX officials confirmed the layoffs and closings later Tuesday.
Though their last day was Tuesday, all of the affected employees will receive at least 60 days of pay and benefits. Union employees also may have other benefits available in accordance with their respective labor agreements.
According to information from CSX, 100 jobs composed of train crews and yard workers will remain in Corbin, in addition to a limited number of mechanical employees to support and manage yard traffic.
“Corbin continues to be an important part of the CSX network for the movement of automobiles, consumer products and other freight,” CSX officials stated.
The layoffs and closings, which are similar to those that occurred at the CSX facility in Erwin, Tenn. earlier this month, are the result of the downturn in the coal industry.
The one difference, being the switching yard in Erwin was also eliminated.
“Central Appalachian coal moving through the (Corbin) terminal has decreased 57 percent in 10 years, due to low natural gas prices and regulation,” CSX officials stated, adding that the company has lost more than $1 billion in revenue since 2011 because of the limited amount of coal being moved.
CSX officials added that transportation of other goods through Corbin has been cut in half since 2005.
The loss of freight has resulted in a decrease in the number of locomotives needed to support the operations.
“These trends are expected to continue,” CSX officials stated.
In an e-mail sent out Tuesday entitled “Coal Region Update,” CSX Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Ward stated that cutting the jobs and closing the shops in Corbin and Erwin was a last resort.
“For some time, CSX has been responding to the contracting coal market with careful resource management, including longer trains, higher rail car loading capacity and other steps, but now more must be done,” Ward stated in the e-mail. “The actions at Erwin and Corbin and an ongoing evaluation of the Central Appalachian coalfields have to result in significant structural changes.”
Ward acknowledged the impact CSX and its predecessors, Clinchfied and L&N railroads have had on communities such as Corbin and Erwin.