USA: Amsted Rail has announced the ‘temporary idling’ of its wheel plant at Bessemer in Alabama from September, saying the decision to suspend production had been taken because of a drop in demand for new wagons and the improved efficiency of North American railways ‘for the foreseeable future’.

The company operates four other wheel manufacturing facilities in the USA and Canada. ‘Amsted Rail is focused on ensuring our capacity is closely aligned with our key customers’ requirements’, said President John Wories on June 1. ‘Bessemer became an important contributor to meeting these customer requirements during peak demand, and we are especially thankful to the hard-working, skilled and dedicated employees who contributed to that success.’

Amsted Rail said staff would be provided with pay and benefits ‘above and beyond’ federal requirements. They would also be offered the opportunity to transfer to other locations, as well as optional recall ‘that will ensure their availability to quickly restart operations when customer demand returns.’