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HUNTINGTON - The CSX administrative office in Huntington, expected to close sometime this summer, will likely stay open until the end of July, a company official said Tuesday.

In January, CSX announced it was closing the administrative offices, but as of Tuesday they remained open.

"CSX continues to have discussions about the ultimate use of the Huntington Division office, but has not yet made a final determination," said Laura Phelps, media relations manager for CSX.

CSX disclosed that 121 jobs - including dispatchers, yardmasters and other contract and non-contract labor - will be affected by the company's plan to consolidate certain divisions and close the Huntington office.

The 121 management and union employees will remain employed in the area during the transition, which Phelps said should be completed by July, and some of those employees also will be offered positions in other divisions.

CSX is reducing its operations from 10 to nine divisions. Huntington Division administrative responsibilities will be reassigned to adjoining divisions in either Atlanta; Baltimore; Florence, South Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky; or the Great Lakes Division, based in Indianapolis.

Phelps said CSX is continuing to transition the employees who had been part of the Huntington Division administration to the other CSX divisions.

Reducing staff at the Huntington car shop and closing the Huntington offices follows the reduction of train operations at Erwin, Tennessee, and the closing of the mechanical shop in Corbin, Kentucky.

"There are no further workforce reductions planned at our facilities in that area," she said.

In February, all seven positions at the CSX car shop were relocated.

"We abolished all seven positions at the car shop as part of a broader mechanical streamlining initiative," Phelps explained. "Those seven employees were all offered positions at the Huntington locomotive shop."

The CSX car shop in Huntington handled maintenance, repairs and inspections for railroad cars, while the locomotive shop handles repairs and maintenance on the locomotives, Phelps said. She added that locomotive shops are not directly affected and may see an increase in work during the transition.

The reductions in staff have been happening at CSX locations across the country.

"These difficult decisions were undertaken after careful consideration and a review of all other possible options," Phelps said.

She denied rumors of future reductions in Huntington, saying consolidation did not affect the Huntington Locomotive Shop.

Train operations through the affected areas will continue as normal, she said.

CSX maintains more than 2,000 miles of track in West Virginia and handles an average of more than 1.7 million carloads of freight in the state.

The Huntington territory encompasses the central Appalachian coalfields, which have been significantly affected by low natural gas prices and regulatory actions, according to a news release. The announcements are part of CSX's focus on reducing structural costs and aligning resources with demand in the coalfields.

Over the past four years, CSX's coal-related revenues have declined by $1.4 billion.

Follow business reporter Fred Pace on Twitter @FredPaceHD.


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