Wabtec ( WAB) plunged 20% Tuesday after the rail technology company posted soft second-quarter sales. The Wilmerding, Pa., company made $21.8 million, or 44 cents a share, from continuing operations for the quarter ended June 30. That's up from the year-ago $14.9 million, or 31 cents a share, and 2 cents ahead of the Thomson Financial analyst consensus estimate. But sales fell to $262 million from $266 million a year earlier, falling far shy of the $297 million Wall Street estimate. Wabtec, formerly known as Westinghouse Air Brake, also set plans to close two plants in a cost-cutting move. The company said it will take $11 million in pretax charges to cover the restructuring. "The company's operating performance in the second quarter was strong, with our gross margin more than 4 percentage points higher than the year-ago quarter," said CEO Albert J. Neupaver. "This margin performance demonstrates that we are making meaningful progress in our efforts to improve Wabtec's cost structure. As anticipated, these efforts are driving substantial earnings growth in a year when our sales are stable at a high level. With demand expected to remain strong in our freight markets and with a record multiyear backlog of more than $1 billion -- a significant portion of which represents transit projects with deliveries accelerating next year -- we are optimistic about Wabtec's growth prospects in 2007 and beyond." Investors were less optimistic, lopping $6.42 off Wabtec early Tuesday to $26.03.