Posts Tagged ‘Railroads of Pennsylvania’

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.

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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.

PA Short Line Sets Traffic Record

January 11, 2018

The Pennsylvania-based Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad reported this week hauling a record 8,572 revenue carloads in 2017.

The broke the previous record of 8,048 cars handled in 2015. Larry Malski, president of the Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority, said in a statement that last year’s traffic figure is indicative of economic growth among the 20-plus industries served by the DL.

Malski said the 2017 carload figures represented a 31 percent increase over 2016.

Helping fuel the carload traffic growth was the addition of two new customers, Scranton Transload and Northwoods Paper.

The DL also handled more than 100 special high-and-wide carloads of components for the new Invenergy Jessup Power Plant.

Major commodities handled by the DL include wheat and flour, sand, plastic, lumber, propane and consumer products.

DL is seeking a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation grant to fund double-tracking its Carbondale Line because of “rapidly increasing” carloads on that line, Malski said.

“Since 1982 when the authority was formed to save the approximately 100 miles of rail lines that the private sector railroad were abandoning and liquidating, a true rail renaissance has transpired in northeastern Pennsylvania with thousands of jobs saved and created by the many industries that need freight-rail service to stay competitive,” Malski said.

R&N Set Freight Traffic Records in 2017

January 9, 2018

Rising coal traffic helped the Pennsylvania-based Reading & Northern set a traffic record in 2017.

The Class II railroad said it handled 31,175 carloads in 2017, a 15 percent increase over 2016.

The figure is a 50 percent increase over the past five years.

The company credited 40 percent growth in anthracite coal traffic for playing a major role in the traffic increase.

“This unprecedented growth came across all of the many commodity lanes handled by R&N,” the railroad said. “Once again, R&N is ‘The Road of Anthracite.’”

Much of the increase in coal traffic involved hauling Pennsylvania anthracite bound for markets in the Ukraine, where it replaced Russian coal.

R&N said that during 2017 it added hundreds of new cars of business at its transload facilities and warehouses. The forest products group handled more than 10,000 carloads in 2017.

“At year end, we had more employees, track, locomotives, freight cars, facilities and customers than at any point in our history,” said CEO/Owner Andy Muller, Jr.

Narrow Gauge Combine Moved to EBT

November 29, 2017

A combine car from the former Tuscarora Valley Railroad has been moved to the East Broad Top Railroad in Pennsylvania.

Car No.101 is in temporary storage on the EBT at Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania, where the Friends of the East Broad Top are helping to restore the car, which ran on a narrow-gauge line in another part of the state.

The car is the last remaining piece of rolling stock left from the 3-foot-gauge Tuscarora Valley, which ran for 27 miles from Port Royal to Blairs Mills in Juniata and Huntingdon counties between 1891 and 1934.

The Tuscarora Valley had intended to connect with the EBT’s Shade Gap branch at Richvale but never did.

The combine was built as a coach in the 1880s by Billmeyer & Small of York, Pennsylvania, and converted into a combine in 1916. The Tuscarora bought the car used in 1895.

In recent years, the car has been serving as a woodshed on a farm whose owner, Bernie Rowels, donated the carbody to the Friends of the East Broad Top.

After the Friend group was unable to move the car from Rowels’ property, the Darrow family acquired it and began restoration work.

The car has since been bought by Stephen Lane, a part-time steam engineer on the Everett Railroad, who arranged to have it sent to Rockhill Furnace.

The EBT is for sale and a long-term storage agreement cannot be achieved at this time. The EBT has not carried passengers since 2011.

Pa. Tourist Railroads Offering Joint Ticketing

July 17, 2017

Two Pennsylvania tourist line railroads are offering discounted combination tickets for passengers who ride both lines during the summer.

The participating railroads are the Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village and the Stewartstown Railroad, both based in York County and a 20-minute drive apart.

The joint tickets are being issued to commemorate the heritage of both railroads, a practice that was once common in the Northeast.

The Maryland & Pennsylvania dates to 1870 and once connected York with Baltimore. The Stewartstown Railroad, known as “the farmers railroad,” was built in 1885 between Stewartstown and New Freedom.

The railroads noted in a statement that both carriers were in their early years backed by local residents who saw them as a lifeline to a wider world.

The Stewartstown continues to operate from its namesake city over a portion of its original 7.4-mile line.

Volunteers on a monthly basis operate track cars run over the line to New Freedom.

The Ma & Pa is based at Muddy Creek Forks and offers motorcar excursions over 5.4 miles of the original Ma & Pa main line.

Docents in period costumes offer tours of the A.M. Grove General Store, the roller mills, grain elevator, and exhibits about the railroad and its region.

Quiet Zone Imposed in Pennsylvania City

July 12, 2017

A quiet zone has been imposed by the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority in the Newberry neighborhood of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The quiet zone came about after the city council in the central Pennsylvania city best known as the home of the Little League World Series sent a notice to the Federal Railroad Administration of its desire for a quiet zone.

The council also gave a notice of intent to SEDA-COG, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Lycoming Valley Railroad.

Grade crossing signals were improved last spring at the crossings where the quiet zone is now in effect.  This included the installation of four-quadrant gates, safety surveillance camera systems and signal protection systems at the affected street crossings.

SEDA-COG has a yard in Newberry that is the largest rail yard between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, New York, and has a high concentration of customers and associated rail traffic, authority officials said.

R&N Posts 16% Carload Gain in 2016

February 3, 2017

Pennsylvania-based short line Reading & Northern posted a 16 percent increase in carload traffic for 2016, handling almost 20,000 carloads.

PennsylvaniaTourist operations accommodated more than 100,000 passengers, the second time in the railroad’s history that it has topped six figures.

In a statement, the R&N said that during 2016 it “had more employees, more track, more locomotives, more freight cars, more facilities and more customers than at any point in its history.”

R&N added 10 miles of new track and acquired the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, with more than three miles of new track construction.

In maintenance of way efforts, R&N installed more than 15,000 ties, replaced more than 20,000 linear feet of rail and built a dozen new turnouts.

The locomotive fleet increased by 20 percent with the acquisition of six four-axle locomotives. The freight car fleet grew 16 percent to 1,179 cars, an increase of 162.

More than a dozen new customers have come on line, most with the Humboldt acquisition, and 21 new employees joined the railroad, bringing the staff to more than 200.

Reading & Northern Building New Station

January 19, 2017

The Reading & Northern will build a new passenger station near the Reading, Pennsylvania, city limits.

PennsylvaniaThe $2 million project also will include construction of a siding from the main line, a water tank and a home for Canadian Pacific 225, a 4-6-0 formerly owned by the late George M. Hart. The 225 will be displayed at the site.

The R&N acquired the property for the station in 2016 for $895,000. It is located along Pennsylvania Route 61 in Muhlenberg Township north of a connection with Norfolk Southern.

To prepare the site, a closed strip mall and restaurant on the property were razed.

The new station will feature a Victorian era design and simulate a station known as the Outer Station that was located closer to central Reading.

That station was constructed in 1874 and located within a wye of lines branching off to Allentown, Pottsville, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

The Outer Station, which had division offices, closed in 1969 and was destroyed by fire in 1978.

The railroad also had a passenger station in downtown Reading on Franklin Street.

The R&N said that it will begin offering scheduled Saturday passengers trains between the new station and Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, on Memorial Day, using former Reading rail diesel cars.

The route of the service will be ex-Reading rails from from Reading to Hauck on the Catawissa Branch and then over the former Jersey Central Nesquehoning Valley Branch to Jim Thorpe. The trip will be 60 miles one way.