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Union Pacific railroad to consolidate Wichita Service Unit

Remote operators Kenny Serell, left, and Georg Englert ride a locomotive as they move rail cars in the Union Pacific rail yard in 2013. Union Pacific will consolidate its Wichita operations into three other units beginning May 1.
Remote operators Kenny Serell, left, and Georg Englert ride a locomotive as they move rail cars in the Union Pacific rail yard in 2013. Union Pacific will consolidate its Wichita operations into three other units beginning May 1. File photo

Union Pacific railroad will consolidate its Wichita operations into three other units beginning May 1.

The Omaha-based company said the action will mean reassigning three management jobs to other locations in the company. It’s not expected to affect the bulk of the company’s workers assigned to the Wichita Service Unit.

“It’s all pretty consistent,” Union Pacific spokeswoman Calli Hite said Tuesday. “It’s just going to be internally managed differently.”

In a statement Tuesday, the company said the Wichita consolidation was the result of “aligning operations to meet customer demands amid marketplace shifts.”

Union Pacific undertook a similar action last month with its Pocatello, Idaho, Service Unit, splitting management of its operations with service units in Utah and Portland, Ore.

The Wichita unit is responsible for 1,200 miles of track in Kansas and parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Those responsibilities will be shifted to service units in Kansas City; North Little Rock, Ark.; and Fort Worth, Hite said.

At the Wichita unit’s headquarters at 2645 New York — northwest of I-135 and 21st Street North — workers service and repair rail cars, refuel locomotives and move freight cars around the yard by way of remote-controlled locomotives. There are also crews in Wichita who repair and replace track, signals and other safety equipment.

At one time, the Wichita unit had 112 employees. An updated figure was not immediately available on Tuesday.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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