FreightCar America temporarily suspends production at Alabama facility

A photograph of two railcars.

FreightCar America (NASDAQ: RAIL) has temporarily suspended production at its facility in Shoals, Alabama, after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

The facility will be shut for seven days and will reopen on April 7, FreightCar America said on Saturday. The 2.2 million-square-foot Shoals facility can build a variety of railcar types, according to FreightCar America’s website.

“Although we have already taken extraordinary measures in our facilities to mitigate the spread of COVID 19, out of an abundance of caution and to reduce the risk of secondary or tertiary exposure, we are temporarily suspending railcar production,” said FreightCar America President and CEO James Meyer. “This will give us time to clean the facility and help ensure a safe environment for our employees and contractors.”

The railcar manufacturer said it initiated its health and safety protocols once it was determined that one employee had tested positive for the virus. All employees and contractors who might have been exposed to the individual have been notified, FreightCar America said.

During the temporary shutdown, FreightCar America will clean the facility, which will continue to receive materials shipments. Some employees could return sooner as FreightCar America completes its cleaning protocol, the company said.

Earlier last week, the company outlined how it was adjusting its operations amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a Thursday note to business partners, FreightCar America said it adopted multiple policy changes, including requiring employees not working in production activities to work from home, conducting daily cleaning and sanitizing practices at the company’s facilities, practicing social distancing, and establishing contained work zones, among other initiatives.