R&N Hit Freight, Passenger Records in 2021

Pennsylvania regional railroad Reading & Northern said this week that it set records in 2021 for freight revenue, freight traffic and excursion passenger ridership.

The railroad said freight revenue was up 10 percent compared with 2020 with forest products rising by 1,000 carloads to almost 11,500 carloads last year.

R&N officials attributed the growth in forest products to increased demand for corrugated packaging stemming from increases of e-commerce activity.

Also posting gains were ancillary revenues related to warehouse and trans-loading operations.

The R&N said its movement of Pennsylvania-mined anthracite coal remains strong with much of it being moved to electric arc furnace steel making plants.

The railroad serves four existing steel mills with six new mill set to come online. In some instances the coal is transloaded to trucks to be taken to the mills.

The growth of steel mill coal has offset a significant loss of export coal business, R&N officials said.

Other commodities that R&N said have bolsters it traffic base include shipments of food products, plastics metals, chemicals and minerals.

The railroad said those commodities total nearly 10,000 carloads a year.

Excursion train ridership in 2021 was 225,175, a gain of 75,0000. R&N plans to begin excursion service this year from the Wilkes Barre/Scranton area out of Pittston.

Steam locomotive 2102 is expected to begin revenue service this year. The railroad has purchased 13 additional passenger cars to use in excursion service.

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