- Associated Press - Thursday, July 9, 2015

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Burlington Northern Santa Fe is relocating 55 workers to Laurel from Glendive and Forsyth and planning other worker furloughs.

Rail officials tell the Billings Gazette (https://bit.ly/1HPsWSj ) that the move is in an effort to consolidate operations to Laurel, which is the region’s largest rail yard. Officials say the move will also reduce costs, a necessary move as freight demands drop.

Officials say BNSF will slow hiring and furlough workers until demand increases. They declined to details about workers to be furloughed.

BNSF spokesman Matt Jones says the company met with employee unions to structure the transition and accepted volunteers to relocate. Incentive bonuses were also given to employees who relocated.

Falling oil and natural gas prices have slowed demand for freight carriers, especially from mines in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, https://www.billingsgazette.com

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