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BNSF cuts jobs in Willmar rail yard

WILLMAR - Fifteen to 17 jobs in the Burlington Northern Santa Fe switching yard in Willmar are being eliminated as part of an overall reduction in BNSF's switching operations.

Employees were notified this week that they are being furloughed.

BNSF hopes to eventually call them back to work, said Steve Forsberg, general director of public affairs for Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

"We just don't know when that's going to be," he said.

The downturn in the economy has resulted in a significant drop in rail traffic volume this year. Switching activity is down at all of BNSF's terminals, Forsberg said. As a result, BNSF is moving to consolidate this at fewer terminals, primarily at Dilworth, North Town and Sioux City.