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WATCO announces closure of repair facility

Officials for a Hollidaysburg railcar repair shop confirmed plans to close by Sept. 20.

“After careful consideration, WATCO made a decision to close the Hollidaysburg tank care facility,” said Lori Kallenbach, vice president of WATCO’s marketing and communications department in Kansas City.

The closure impacts 72 local workers.

A transportation company, WATCO Companies LLC is headquartered in Pittsburg, Kansas, and provides transportation, terminal and port, mechanical and supply chain services to customers throughout North America and Australia.

Kallenbach offered no details about the reasons behind the closure or the future ownership/use of the Hollidaysburg facility, located at 585 Berwind Road.

Efforts to assist workers are underway, according to Stephen J. McKnight, president and CEO of the Altoona Blair County Development Corp.

“We were notified this morning and are reaching out to WATCO officials for more details and determine what will be the future potential for the site and buildings,” he said. “The rapid response workforce team at the CareerLink has also been informed, and they are preparing to reach out to the workers impacted by this closure. The displaced workers are the priority at this point. We are in a strong market for the types of skill sets the workforce at the WATCO plant possesses, so I suspect they will be in high demand within our region.”

The employees are represented by United Steelworkers Chapter 6521. Chapter President Dennis Walter didn’t return phone calls.

Mirror Staff Writer Patt Keith is at 949-7030.

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