Hermiston’s Hinkle Rail Yard is part of a round of layoffs by Union Pacific Railroad.
Union Pacific notified its mechanical employees this month that 140 positions would be eliminated in early February, according to spokesperson Hannah Bolte. She said in an email that the company was not providing “location-specific information,” but confirmed that the Hinkle facility was affected.
She said that the workforce reduction came about due to the completion of Positive Train Control installation and a reduction in Union Pacific’s locomotive fleet under Unified Plan 2020, a new operating plan that “streamlines operations as we ensure Union Pacific remains a strong, competitive and vibrant company.”
Positive Train Control is a technologically advanced safety system Union Pacific has been working to implement. It can automatically stop trains to prevent accidents, such as derailments and collisions.
Located within the rail yard is the Hinkle Locomotive and Service Repair Facility. Union Pacific’s website states the 100,000-square-foot repair facility employs 235 people and provides repairs of locomotives, inspections and “the service track fuels and readies nearly 90 locomotives a day.”
By Jade McDowell for the eastoregonian.com