FreightCar America

FreightCar America is a manufacturer of freight cars for the railway industry, headquartered in the United States but manufacturing in Mexico.

FreightCar America
Russell 2000 Component
IndustryRail transport
ProductsFreight cars
Revenue$141.3 million (2010)[1]


The company began operations in 1901, and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.[2] It is engaged in the business of building, repairing, and leasing freight cars, largely for the transportation of bulk materials like coal, metals, wood products, and automobiles.[2] In addition to the freight cars it constructs, the company also manufactures parts for use in cars built by other companies.[2]

It formerly owned three American factories—one in Danville, Illinois, one in Cherokee, Alabama and one in Roanoke, Virginia.[3] The facility in Roanoke was closed in 2009 due to weak economic conditions,[3] but it was announced on 21 February 2011, that it would reopen after an order for 1,500 coal cars from the Norfolk Southern Railway.[4]

In 2008, the company produced 10,349 freight cars, but its output decreased to 3,377 cars in 2009.[4] During fiscal year 2010, FreightCar America had a profit of $36.52 million on revenue of $141.3 million.[1]

In June 2014, the Danville plant brought back over 100 employees with promises of work and being able to retire from the plant. They were set to be laid off indefinitely the end of February 2016.

On October 25, 2016, a shooting occurred at a FreightCar America building in Roanoke, Virginia. Getachew Fekede, a 53-year-old former employee and Kenyan refugee who moved to the U.S. in 2011, fired ten rounds from a 9mm handgun, killing an employee and wounding three others. He then committed suicide. Police said the shooting appeared to be an act of workplace violence, but added that the possibility of terrorism would be investigated.[5][6]

In mid-February 2017, the company announced layoffs at its Roanoke plant.[7] This was followed by an announcement at the end of March 2017, that FreightCar America would idle the plant in June.[8]

On August 2, 2018, it was announced that The Andersons Inc. had signed an agreement to purchase FreightCar America Inc.'s rail-car facility in Danville, Illinois. The Andersons' goal was to turn the former freight-car manufacturing plant into a full-service freight and tank rail-car repair shop. The Andersons Rail Group would provide rail-car repair, painting, blasting, cleaning, tank-car certification, and scrapping at the facility. Located along the CSX network, the 308,000-square-foot facility can store up to 400 rail cars.

On September 10, 2020, after receiving a $10 million Paycheck Protection Program loan intended to help businesses continue paying their workers,[9] the company announced it planned to close its facility in Cherokee, Alabama by approximately the end of that year. Employee layoffs were to begin November 9, 2020, and continue in stages through February 28, 2021. The majority of layoffs were to occur in December 2020. Company president/CEO Jim Meyer cited "the depressed rail car market and the devastating impact and ongoing threat of COVID-19" as reasons for the decision.[10] All of the company's manufacturing is now performed in Mexico.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Key Statistics". Yahoo! Finance. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Profile". Yahoo! Finance. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b "FreightCar America plans 'temporary suspension' of production in Roanoke". The Roanoke Times. 13 April 2011. Archived from the original on 22 February 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Roanoke freight car plant will hire 200 as result of deal". Richmond Times-Dispatch. 21 February 2011. Archived from the original on 22 February 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  5. ^ "The Latest: Neighbor Says Workplace Shooter Faced Harassment". ABC News. Associated Press. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Roanoke police identify FreightCar America shooter". WDBJ. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  7. ^ "FreightCar America in Roanoke to make layoffs in April".
  8. ^ "FreightCar America idling Roanoke plant". 31 March 2017.
  9. ^ DePillis, Lydia (June 30, 2021). "This Company Got a $10 Million PPP Loan, Then Closed Its Plant and Moved Manufacturing Jobs to Mexico". ProPublica. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  10. ^ "FreightCar America closing Shoals location". 10 September 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  11. ^ FreightCar America justifies production move to Mexico. FreightWaves, November 11, 2020

External linksEdit