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FreightCar America to hire 200 in Roanoke

Norfolk Southern has ordered 1,500 new coal cars.

February 21, 2011|David Seidel | Assignment Manager

RICHMOND, Va. — FreightCar America will build 1,500 rail cars in Roanoke, thanks to a big order from Norfolk Southern.

Governor Bob McDonnell and representatives from both companies made the announcement Monday morning in Richmond.

Norfolk Southern is resuming a program that began four years ago to replace its fleet of 30-thousand rail cars.  Norfolk Southern Executive Vice-President John Rathbone said the company suspended the program when the economy took a nosedive. "Now I’m very pleased that the economy and the coal market in particular have shown significant strength to justify resuming our program," Rathbone said.

"And the great news is they will be produced in Roanoke, Virginia," Governor McDonnell said during the news conference, "so this is a win, win, win for these two great companies."

FreightCar America Vice-President Sean Hankinson said the order should keep the Roanoke facility busy for a year and a half. "We're very excited about it." Hankinson said. "We've got a good workforce in Roanoke."

The work will begin in May. Two-hundred workers will be hired, according to the governor's office.

Here is the complete announcement from the governor's office:

Governor McDonnell Announces $100 Million Norfolk Southern Rail Car Order to be Built by FreightCar America in Roanoke

RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell announced that Norfolk Southern Railway Company is acquiring 1,500 new railcars from Chicago-based FreightCar America, Inc. (NASDAQ: RAIL). The high-capacity coal cars will be manufactured at FreightCar America’s facility in Roanoke beginning in May of 2011. The order will result in approximately 200 jobs.

        “I am excited to see this order from Norfolk Southern,” said Governor Bob McDonnell. “This announcement is a prime example of in-state companies putting Virginians back to work and is another indicator that our economy is beginning to recover.”

        “This purchase is good news for Norfolk Southern on several levels,” said Wick Moorman, Norfolk Southern Chief Executive Officer. “It’s an important step in our long-term plan to rejuvenate our coal fleet, it’s a recognition of a rebound in the economy, it supports a very important supplier to the railroad industry, and it brings jobs back to Roanoke, a city that’s very important to us.”

        Ed Whalen, FreightCar America’s President and Chief Executive Officer said, “This coal car order marks an upturn in production activity at our Roanoke facility. We are very pleased to be selected to meet Norfolk Southern’s demand for coal cars in these difficult economic times. We will be adding employees over the new few months as we prepare to produce these cars.”

        Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia. It serves every major container port in the eastern United States and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.

        FreightCar America, Inc. manufactures railroad freight cars with particular expertise in coal-carrying railcars. It supplies railcar parts, leases freight cars through its JAIX Leasing Company subsidiary, and provides railcar maintenance, repairs and management through its FreightCar Rail Services, LLC subsidiary. In addition to coal cars, FreightCar America designs and builds bulk commodity cars, flat cars, mill gondola cars, intermodal cars, coil steel cars and motor vehicle carriers. It is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and has facilities in Clinton, Indiana; Danville, Illinois; Grand Island, Nebraska; Hastings, Nebraska; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Lakewood, Colorado; and Roanoke, Virginia. More information about FreightCar America is available on its website at .

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