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Trinity Industries Closes Railcar Plant

Thu, 01/29/2009 - 7:40am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Citing falling demand, a Texas company has said it has closed its Oklahoma City railcar manufacturing plant, resulting in the loss of 250 jobs.

The layoffs affected hourly and administrative employees at Trinity Tank Car Inc., which is owned by Dallas-based Trinity Industries Inc. The company mentioned the job cuts in a business update issued Wednesday.

That update also noted the company has decided to defer an $800 million investment in 10,000 railcars for ethanol industry lessees. Those railcars were scheduled for delivery in 2010 and 2011 to a leasing company operated by Trinity.

The closure of the Oklahoma City plant follows that of another Trinity business in Tulsa. Trinity Structural Towers, which produced towers for wind turbines, closed on Jan. 16 and laid off 131 workers. The company said the tightening credit markets caused its customers to delay the construction of new wind farms.

A North Dakota-based company, DMI Industries, also has announced plans to lay off about 50 workers at a Tulsa wind power plant.

Trinity Industries said that because of the falling demand for railcars, it also plans to close plants in Missouri and Texas. The Missouri plant, which employs 228 people, will close Tuesday.

Earlier job cuts came at plants in Georgia, Texas and Mexico, as well as at the company's corporate headquarters.

"These are very difficult times for the North American railcar manufacturing industry and the global economy as a whole," Timothy Wallace, Trinity's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

He said the company will continue to "very closely" monitor demand for the manufacture of railcars.

"We expect to reduce railcar manufacturing capacity further if demand does not recover in the near-term," he said.

Trinity said it delivered about 7,050 railcars during the fourth quarter of last year and received orders for about 1,180 railcars last quarter. It expects deliveries of between 6,000 and 7,00 railcars during the first half of 2009.

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