Auto-Train Corp. is laying off 120 workers as part of a series of economy moves aimed at saving $1 million in operating costs.
The cutbacks include firing the president's chauffeur, selling the company car he drove and putting up for sale a condominium in Florida that was used by company executives.
The economy moves were confirmed yesterday by Eugene Kerik Garfield. Auto-Train's president, chairman and founder, after inquries by The Washington Post.
The company's annual meeting is to be held Thursday. Operating results for the second quarter of the year, which ended Nov. 1, are expected to be announced soon. After four profitable years. Auto-Train lost $366,715 last year and lost another $371,408 in the first quarter of this year.
The cost cutting began earlier this month, but "the full effect will not be realized until Dec. 1," Garfield said. "I am confident that when the third quarter results are realized in late February, certain effects of the cost reduction program will be visible."
Auto-Train, which carries passengers and their cars between Lorton, Va., and Sanford, Fla., traditionally loses money or breaks even during the first half of its year. Profits normally are built up during the winter months when there is heavy travel to Florida.
Company officials have insisted the losses in the past year were due to two derailments and suspension of service on a second route, from Louisville, Ky., to Florida.
Since September, when the Louisville route was shut down, Auto-train has been evaluating its staff needs, Garfield said.
He confirmed reports from employees that Richard A. Goldstein, senior vice president and chief operating officer, last month asked employees to take voluntary temporary pay cuts of 5 to 10 per cent. He and other top executives earlier cut their own pay by 10 per cent.