Alliance Castings, an Ohio foundry producing railroad carriage wheels, plans to idle its plant in June for six to 18 months, according to local reports. The shutdown may be permanent, according the same sources. “This is a major blow to the 394 workers and their families, as well as to the city,” Alliance, OH, mayor Toni Middleton told the Canton Repository newspaper. “We’re dealt the cards we’re dealt. Some things are beyond our control.” In a letter to city officials, Alliance Castings general manager Larry Stewart explained the idling as a result of "the major downturn in railcar manufacturing ... the global economy ... and the resultant lower demand for the plant's products." If demand for railcar components improves and orders resume in sufficient volume, production will restart and employees will be called back, the letter reportedly assured. The plant had already laid off about 100 workers earlier this year. “This plant was closed before and everyone thought it would never see the light of day again,” according to the mayor. “I’m optimistic that it will operate again.” Foundries supplying railroad products manufacturers have been particularly hard hit by the general decline in demand for industrial products. ASD-Keystone, a Granite City, IL, foundry, has scaled back and laid off about 800 workers since 2008.