FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A major name in Fort Wayne will lay off more than 80 percent of its workforce.
Fort Wayne-based Triple Crown Services announced Friday it would eliminate 200 of its 240 local jobs as part of a mass restructuring by the rail shipper’s parent company, Norfolk Southern. The company will focus on the transportation of automobile parts.
That spells bad news for Triple Crown, which has done business in the city since 1986.
Jim Newton, president of Triple Crown, said Friday that Norfolk Southern is working to convert the business previously handled by Triple Crown into the rail company’s current intermodal network. That new operation, Newton explained, is incompatible with Triple Crown’s, and a phase-out was imminent.
“Our technology is kind of old and we are the only ones that use it,” he said. “Norfolk Southern has taken a look at this and says it doesn’t make sense to continue to invest in a technology that’s unique and not interchangeable with the rest of the rail system.”
Employees will be offered severance packages based on length of service. said the pay-outs would allow the employees “breathing room to land softly” until they find new employment. Others will be offered job placement assistance, and opportunities to apply for positions at Norfolk Southern, the company added.
Newton said local transportation companies have also reached out to Triple Crown Services– interested in hiring their employees. Newton considers that a sign of job growth in the Fort Wayne area.
“So in one respect this is a good time for our people to be experiencing this because there are other opportunities out there,” he said.
Newton said the 40 or so surviving jobs would become the company’s operating staff, still based in Fort Wayne.
Norfolk Southern said the downsizing would be realized by year’s end. Newton said Triple Crown will operate “business as usual” until mid-November.
The focus now, Newton said, is on a smooth transition.
“We are proud of the accomplishments of Triple Crown and the service we have provided to our customers, and we are confident that TCS and Norfolk Southern will continue to provide the level of service our customers expect,” said Newton.
Norfolk Southern said even with the downsizing, it will still employ more than 2,000 Indiana workers. Newschannel 15’s Angelica Robinson is working on this story and will have more as it develops.