Posts Tagged ‘Railroads of Pennsylvania’

Railroad Historian Thomas Tabor Dies

August 23, 2022

Railroad author and historian Thomas T. “Tom” Taber III died last Saturday at age 93 in Montoursville, Pennsylvania.

A life member of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, Tabor created a personal research library and assisted other railroad historians.

He specialized in corporate railroad history and the history of Northeast logging railroads.

With Benjamin F.G. Kline and Walter Casler, Tabor produced and published in the 1970s a 14-volume work about logging railroads of Pennsylvania.

Tabor was co-author with Casler of the 1960 book Climax: An Unusual Steam Locomotive.

He also wrote several books about and collected photographs of short line and minor railroads in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Tabor’s 1987 Railroads of Pennsylvania Encyclopedia and Atlas provided detail and corporate histories of every stretch of railroad line constructed in the commonwealth, as well as railroads chartered but never built.

His Tabor Index of the R&LHS Bulletin/Railroad History is considered the best index of the publication covering the period 1921 to 2009.

Along with his father, Thomas T. Tabor, the junior Tabor received the 1983 George W. and Constance M. Hilton Book Award presented by the R&LHS. The award recognized the Tabors three-volume history of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad.

He received the organization’s Gerald M. Best Senior Achievement Award in 2016 for a significant and longstanding contribution to the writing, preservation, and interpretation of railroad history.

This included overseeing and cataloguing the R&LHS’s artifact collection in 1992.

Tabor also produced a four-volume Guide to Railroad Historical Resources, United States and Canada, a listing guide of the holdings of various transportation archives throughout North America.

The Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, is named in his honor.

R&N Sues to Avoid Storm Water Fees

September 1, 2020

Pennsylvania regional railroad Reading & Northern is suing a sanitary agency in an effort to avoid paying a stormwater fee enacted in 2019.

The lawsuit was filed in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.

In the suit, R&N contends that six of the railroad’s properties should not be subject to the fee from the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority because they fall outside “urbanize,” which the law defines as more than 1,000 residents required to have municipal storm sewer systems.

The railroad argues the authority has “no legal or regulatory basis” to charge the fee outside urbanized area.

In a statement the authority denied the railroad’s claims.

PennDOT to Fund 26 Rail Projects

December 14, 2019

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has approved 26 freight-rail improvement projects that it said will improve freight mobility while creating or sustaining more than 390 jobs.

PennDOT said in a news release that it will work with private rail operators and rail-served businesses to construct new rail lines and assist in maintaining and improving the state’s 5,600 miles of freight lines operated by 65 railroads.

Following are some of the funding recipients, their projects and state share of funding:

CSX, $14.4 million, to lower tracks under nine overhead obstructions to permit routing of double-stack container and multilevel auto rack traffic to and from Port of Philadelphia;

R. J. Corman, $3 million, to replace 25 linear miles of rail and 4,800 ties and to construct a 4,000-foot siding and two turnouts on its Cherry Tree Subdivision to support export metallurgical coal;

SEKISUI SPI, $2.7 million, to construct two spur tracks and install unloading equipment at its manufacturing plant;

Allegheny Valley, $2.5 million, to repair a bridge located on a route used by three railroads;

Arcelor Mittal Plate, $2.2 million, to rehabilitate 2 miles of track, turnouts, and private crossings serving its rolling mill and electric melt shop sites;

Buffalo & Pittsburgh, $1.9 million, to install new bridge timbers, walkways and handrails, as well as super-elevation correction involving three bridges;

Strasburg Rail Road, $1.7 million, to construct less than 1 mile of track by extending interchange track and constructing new bulk, ladder, and lead tracks to more than double current yard capacity;

Wheeling and Lake Erie, $1.1 million, to repair structural and drainage issues in State Tunnel to bring it into a state of good repair in Washington County;

Union Tank Car, $1 million, to rehabilitate the transfer table pit retaining walls;

North Shore, $813,834 to construct 1,350 ft. of track and install three turnouts to develop a multipurpose transload site;

Pittsburgh Intermodal Terminals, $700,000, to rehabilitate approximately 1 mile of track in critical operations areas, including replacement of ties and switch timbers, new ballast and surfacing;

Freeport Terminals, $699,999, to construct and rehabilitate less than .5 mile of track and install new transloading equipment to expand capacity at its Allegheny River barge/rail/truck transload site;

United States Steel, $689,500, to complete various track upgrades to accommodate increased rail volume from USS’s new hot rolling mill in Braddock;

Standard Steel LLC, $529,890, to replace a 50-foot scale to accommodate 60-foot rail cars and replace two No. 6 turnouts and 900 feet of track.

R&N Sister Unit Acquires Warehouse for Transloading

November 5, 2018

A sister company of the Reading & Northern Railroad has acquired the former Penn Foster warehouse in Ransom, Pennsylvania.

The 83,551-square-foot paper-grade facility will serve as a transload facility for wood pulp and potentially other forest products.

It is located on 30 acres adjacent to Reading & Northern’s Susquehanna Branch. The transaction was completed on Oct. 31.

R&N Vows to Appeal Loss in Court

October 30, 2018

Pennsylvania-based Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern will appeal a summary judgment issued by a court to the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority  regarding the solicitation of an operating agreement for the authority’s short lines.

The dispute arose after the R&N challenged the first phase of a request for proposals that the agency issued in 2014 seeking qualified operators for its rail lines.

The Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas awarded summary judgment in favor of the agency after R&N sued it and other proposers in the RFP process.

The decision dismissed all open claims in the case.

In a news release, R&N contends that the court dismissed its case without giving any credence to the evidence and arguments based on information taken from more than 20 depositions.

R&N also contends that the agency turned over the RFP process and decision-making to a subgroup with a bias toward the current rail carrier, North Shore Railroad.

“We are disappointed but not surprised by the court’s decision, which ignores all of our arguments and evidence. The court has consistently ruled in favor of the local rail authority and it has been clear since the beginning of the case that we would need to seek relief at the appellate level,” said R&N President Wayne Michel.

In a statement, R&N charged that the agency engaged in illegal competition with private industry and to showcase to the appellate court what the trial judge chose to ignore: the overwhelming evidence of bias and corruption that infected the entire process.

Strasburg Acquires Another Diesel

September 24, 2018

The Strasburg Rail Road of Pennsylvania had added another locomotive to its diesel fleet to be used for freight service.

The latest addition is a former Santa Fe SSB-1200, rebuilt from a 1953 EMD SW9 that was most recently used by an industry in Narrows, Virginia.

The unit still wears its Santa Fe dark blue livery and was once AT&SF No. 1235. It was retired from the Santa Fe motive power roster in December 1984.

The Strasburg also a has a former Conrail (nee New York Central) SW8 that is uses for freight service.

The railroad has on occasion used one of three operating steam locomotives to haul freight, but that practice may end now that the Strasburg has another diesel.

Flooding Damages Pa. Tourist Railroads

September 5, 2018

Flooding recently damaged a Pennsylvania-based tourist railroad, forcing the cancellation of Labor Day weekend activities.

Much of the damage occurred at the Muddy Creek Forks village museum of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad.

The A.M. Grove general store, the flour mill and the museum shop building suffered water and mud damage.

Ties and lumber were carried away by the water and several pieces of rolling stock sustained water damage.

Flooding also damaged the tracks of the railroad with the worst damage occurring at Guinston Forge Road, where a 32-foot plate girder bridge was swept from its abutments.

The railroad is hoping to clean up as much damage as possible so it can continue with plans for its annual Heritage Day event on Sept. 22.

The flooding also affected the nearby Stewartstown Railroad, which saw track under water at least one location and mud and gravel deposited on the track near Shrewsbury.

Reading & Northern to Serve New Plant

June 2, 2018

Pennsylvania-based Reading & Northern will serve a soon-to-be built plant of IRIS USA, a manufacturer and distributor of injection-molded plastic products.

The plant will be built on a 34-acre site along the R&N in an an industrial park in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

IRIS plans to construct a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution plant.

R&N assisted in locating the plant along its network in the Humboldt Industrial Park and will build the necessary track infrastructure “for a reasonable price and in a timely manner,” railroad officials said in a news release.

Colebrook Offering Restoration Program

May 16, 2018

The Pennsylvania-based Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust along with Restoration Works International are sponsoring what they are billing as one of the only U.S.-based railroad restoration programs open to the public.

The event will be held Aug. 3 to 8, in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, and involve hands-on historic restoration.

Among the tasks to be performed by the participants will be painting and staining rail cars, lamp posts, and fences; cleaning train interiors and exteriors; and landscaping work at the station.

The event is suitable for children aged 10 and older.

The week-long event cost $1,100, which includes overnight accommodations, breakfast and lunch, tours, and a farewell dinner aboard the train.

The sponsors are considering the trip fee to be a charitable donation.

Discounts are available for those sharing a room, as well as for children younger than 17 sharing a room with a parent or guardian.

Judge Rules in Favor of Carload Express in SEDA-COG Contract Awarding Dispute

May 9, 2018

The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority has been ordered by a Pennsylvania court to award a freight railroad operating contract to Carload Express.

The contract covers operating rights over five short-line railroads in Centre, Lycoming, Northumberland, Mifflin, Montour, Columbia and Clinton counties owned by SEDA-COG and serving 70 customers over 200 miles of track.

Carload Express would replace Susquehanna Union Railroad, the parent company of North Shore Railroad, as operator of the lines.

At issue is SEDA-COG’s interpretation of how many board members are needed to award a contract.

SEDA-COG argued that at least nine of its 16 voting board members are needed to determine to award an operating contract.

In 2014, SEDA-COG sought proposals to operate the short lines and received three bids. It later chose two finalists, Carload Express and Susquehanna Union.

At a July 2015 board meeting, six board members withdrew from the contract vote because of potential conflicts of interest.

Seven of the 10 voting members favored awarding the contract to Carload Express.

But SEDA-COG said because that fell short of a majority of the board – meaning nine or more board members – the vote failed to meet its requirement to award an operating contract to Carload Express of Allegheny County.

A Clinton County Court of Common Pleas later ruled in SEDA-COG’s favor in a lawsuit filed by Carload Express.

The latest ruling overturns that decision and was made by a Commonwealth Court judge.

In response to the Commonwealth Court’s decision, Susquehanna Union said it is considering its legal options.

Susquehanna had pending a lawsuit of its own in Clinton Country that alleges that the request for proposals to operate the SEDA-COG lines was tainted by a board member who committed ethical violations.

Susquehanna contents that the outcome of its lawsuit could negate the award to Carload by the Commonwealth Court.

In the meantime, SEDA-COG has held off awarding the contract to Carload Express, instead voting unanimously to hold a special meeting to discuss the litigation.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson found in the state court opinion that a 7-3 vote from the 16-member SEDA-COG was a valid endorsement of a contract with Carload Express.

Simpson relied on the state Municipal Authorities Act, which states that a contract can be awarded based on a vote of the majority of an authority’s members who are present.

North Shore is based in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, and has 80 employees. It interchanges freight with Norfolk Southern.