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Railroads are slashing workers, cheered on by Wall Street to stay profitable amid Trump’s trade war

FILE – In this March 3, 2019, file photo a Norfolk Southern freight train passes through the Northside of Pittsburgh as show begins to fall. Norfolk Southern reports financial earns on Wednesday, Oct. 23. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) NYBZ316

President Donald Trump’s trade war has hit agricultural and manufacturing hard, lowering demand for companies that move freight. But railroad stocks soared in 2019 after rail executives embraced automation and cost cutting, doubling down on the idea that the future entails longer, faster trains and fewer workers.

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