By Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - The Montana Rail Link has recently furloughed 36 employees and that number is expected to grow with the downturn of the coal industry.

The Missoulian reports ( ) the affected workers, who are mostly locomotive engineers, are based in Missoula, Helena, Laurel and Livingston.

Montana Rail Link President Tom Walsh says the company has been forced to furlough workers due to the region’s significant decline in coal production.

Spokesman Jim Lewis says the railroad’s coal shipments have dropped 35 percent from the same time last year. The average number of trains operating in Missoula each day has dropped to about 14, down from 18 in the beginning of 2015.

Lewis says the railroad is looking to bring back furloughed employees this fall, depending on a strong soybean and corn harvest.


Information from: Missoulian,

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