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USA - Greenbrier Rail Services plant to close

A Chicago Heights factory that refurbishes freight car couplers and yokes will close and the work being done there will move downstate, the plant's general manager said Wednesday.

Greenbrier Rail Services - an Oregon company that services the nation's major railroads - notified the state of the plant closing last month, and layoffs will begin at the end of the month, according to a filing with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The plant, 1232 McKinley Ave., has 30 employees, Wendy Bennett, general manager of Greenbrier Castings, said. Greenbrier Castings is a subsidiary of Greenbrier Rail Services.

Greenbrier had too much plant capacity and not enough customer demand, Bennett said.

"We lost a lot of work," she said.

Greenbrier had lost a contract with a large customer, but Bennett declined to identify the customer.

By the end of October, Greenbrier will provide all coupler and yoke services from a factory in Peoria, the company told customers in a recent letter.

The castings plant that is closing is separate from another Greenbrier-owned factory on State Street in Chicago Heights that refurbishes rail car wheels and is not affected.

The Chicago Heights plants had formerly been operated by Meridian Rail Holdings, which Greenbrier bought about two years ago.

Meridian was formed following the bankruptcy of ABC-NACO Inc., which made rail car parts and trackwork and at one time had about 300 employees in Chicago Heights.

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