Posts Tagged ‘Reading Blue Mountain & Northern’

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.

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Short Lines Honored at ASLRRA Meeting

April 13, 2018

The Louisville & Indiana Railroad has received the Veterans Recruitment Award from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

The award, which was presented at the ASLRRA convention in Nashville, Tennessee, honored the L&I for its success in military veteran recruitment.

A unit of Anacostia Rail Holdings, the L&I has a 30 percent ratio of veterans in its workforce and 30 percent of its 2017 new hires were veterans.

In a news release, ASLRRA said the L&I has has won the award for two straight years.

The award recognizes short lines that have demonstrated a commitment to hiring military veterans, as evidenced by the percentage of employees who are veterans.

The Michigan-based Lake State Railway and Pennsylvania-based Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad were honored with marketing awards that recognize outstanding business performance by a railroad in providing innovative service to meet customer needs.

ASLRRA said the marketing awards are given to carriers that demonstrate one or more of the following: Using the railroad’s unique operating characteristics to deliver value; partnering with other development authorities, Class Is, or companies; and delivering economic success to both the railroad and the community it serves.

Montana, Steam Focus of April ARRC Program

April 24, 2017

The program at the Akron Railroad Club meeting on April 28 will be a digital presentation by Edward Ribinskas that will feature railroading in Montana and steam locomotives in Pennsylvania.

In July 2016, Ed and his wife, Ursula, celebrated their 25th anniversary by taking Amtrak’s Empire Builder to Glacier National Park, where they stayed at the Izaak Walton Inn.

While there Ed captured BNSF freight operations as well as Amtrak trains against the backdrop of mountains and glaciers.

He and Ursula had made virtually the same trip in 1991 shortly after their wedding.

This segment of the program will also feature a few views made from the train en route.

Rounding out the program will be views of steam locomotives in action on the Everett Railroad and Reading Blue Mountain & Northern. Ed photographed those locomotive during a September 2016 journey to Pennsylvania.

The meeting will begin at 8 p.m. with a half-hour business meeting followed by the program at approximately 8:45 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Following the meeting, some members gather at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.

RBM&N Installing Locomotive Event Recorders, Plans to Boost Trains Speeds Above 25 MPH

January 14, 2017

Faster track speeds on the Pennsylvania-based Reading Blue Mountain & Northern will require the road to comply with a Federal Railroad Administration standard that at least one locomotive of a train be equipped with an event recorder.

PennsylvaniaThe RRM&N has about 320 miles of track at which trains can run at speeds of more than 30 mph.

The railroad recently installed the event recorders in a pair of its EMD SD50s at a cost of $12,000 per locomotive.

Railroad CEO Andy Muller said the company is still determining which of the other 40 locomotives that it owns will receive event recorders.

FRA rules require that the event recorders keep track for 48 hours of the train speed, selected direction of motion, time, distance, throttle position, and the applications and operations of the automatic and independent brakes. The event recorder does not necessarily need to be in the lead unit.

RBM&N plans to operate trains with a unit having a working event recorder at speeds of 40 to 50 mph.

“When you’re running through schedule freights from Reading to Scranton you can’t run 25 mph,” Muller said.

Muller said the RBM&N has track good for 40-50 mph operation and is adding more CTC-controlled territory, but train speeds were previously held to 25 mph.

R&N Adds Locomotives, Hopper Cars

November 9, 2016

To accommodate new business, the Pennsylvania-based Reading & Northern Railroad has purchased new locomotives.

PennsylvaniaThe R&N said in a news release that it acquired six locomotives from a recent Norfolk Southern auction, which included four EMD MP15 locomotives and two EMD GP39RNs.

The railroad has also acquired more than 150 used steel hopper cars to handle an increase in its anthracite coal business. The R&N now has a fleet of 1,179 freight cars.

Even the passenger business at the railroad is on the rise, with ridership on its tourist trains 15 percent ahead of last year’s patron patronage of 100,000.

R&N said it has installed 15,000 crossties, 10,000 feet of new rail, and built about 10,000 feet of new sidings. Almost 90 miles of track has also been re-surfaced this year.

In Search of Keystone State Steam: 1

November 1, 2016

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First in a series

Over the Columbus Day weekend, Ed and Ursula Ribinskas drove to Pennsylvania in search of steam.

The highlight of the trip would be seeing Reading Blue Mountain & Northern No. 425, a 4-6-2 Pacific-type steam locomotive build by Baldwin in January 1928.

The 425 departs from the R&N headquarters city of Port Clinton, Pennsylvania, and takes passengers on a two-hour trip to Jim Thorpe, where it lays over for three hours.

The locomotive was built in Pennsylvania for the Gulf, Mobile & Northern, later renamed Gulf, Mobile & Ohio.

Retired in 1950, No. 425 had a series of owners until it was purchased by Andrew J. Muller Jr., to pull excursion trains on the RBM&N.

Muller later painted the locomotive dark blue, in part because the Reading once had a dark blue steamer of its own.

The 425 was out of service between 1997 and 2008 during which time it underwent restoration. It also underwent repairs in 2011 and 2012.

Ed and Ursula chased the 425 on one of its trips, getting it at Zehners, Haucks, Atlas, Nesquehoning and the Pennsylvania Route 93 tunnel.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

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Judge Rules R&N Suit Can Proceed

August 19, 2016

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed by Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern against the SEDA-COG Joint Rail authority may proceed.

R&N contends in the suit that the Authority did not follow state competitive bidding laws when it awarded a contract to North Shore Railroad.

PennsylvaniaAmong other allegations, the R&N said in its suit that the Authority has since 1983 awarded contracts to North Shore without taking competitive bids.

“Reading & Northern Railroad is extremely pleased that Judge [Charles] Saylor ruled that we can proceed with our lawsuit against the Joint Rail Authority. We intend to vigorously pursue this legal action in order to prove that corruption and cronyism is at the heart of how JRA has operated for more than 20 years. Reading & Northern is delighted that we now have the opportunity to pull back the curtain on this rogue operation,” said RBMN President Wayne Michel in a statement.

The lawsuit is being heard in Northumberland County. In his ruling, Judge Saylor turned aside argument by the Authority and Carload Express that the suit be dismissed.

The judge thus cleared the way for R&N to seek to show that the Authority did not follow proper competitive bid procedures and went out of its way to keep the R&N out of the bidding process because of the railroad’s “well-known support of privatization.”

RBM&N Receives Grant From Pennsylvania

June 3, 2016

The Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission has awarded a $5 million grant to the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad that will be used in a $14 million bridge rebuilding project.

PennsylvaniaThe Nesquehoning Bridge project in Carbon County will create a connection between two of the railroad’s divisions, thus providing a direct route between Philadelphia and Binghamton, New York.

The work will involve building a new three-span bridge over the Leigh River and installing 1,200 feet of track.

CNJ Steam Locomotive to Pull Easter Trips

February 19, 2016

Railway Restoration Project 113 plans to offer steam-powered Eastern trains in eastern Pennsylvanian on March 19 over the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern.

PennsylvaniaThe trains will be pulled by former Central Railroad of New Jersey 0-6-0 No. 113 and will depart from the Minersville Station at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The route of the train will be southward through Marlin, Westwood Junction, Cressona, and Schuylkill Haven over track once owned by the Reading Company.

No. 113 was built by Alco in 1923 and is one of just two CNJ steam locomotives to survive.

The Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Corporation bought the engine in 1953 and operated it at the company’s Locust Summit, Pennsylvania, coal breaker until 1960.

After several years of neglect, No. 113 was acquired by Robert E. Kimmel Sr. of Minersville.

His son Robert Jr. led a 12-year restoration project that cost about $600,000.

No. 113 is one of the few standard gauge locomotives in the United States that burns anthracite coal.

For more information about the trips visit http://www.rrproject113.org/#!Easter-Trains-coming-March-19th/c12hj/569d9a9c0cf2dd2c1662236b

Reading 2102 May Run in 2017

January 22, 2016

Reading Company 4-8-4 No. 2102 will be restored to operating condition by the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad.

The RBN&N said the tender has been separated from the Northern-type locomotive as a first step toward restoration.

In a news release, the railroad said that crews have removed the front end and work has begun on the cab.

The cab, jacketing, piping, super heater units, tubes and flues will be removed and the locomotive is expected to be disassembled to allow for ultrasonic testing and inspection.

After that, the Federal Railroad Administration Form 4 (1,472-day) inspection will be conducted.

Andrew Muller, Jr., owner and CEO of the RBN&N said the T-1 may be operational by mid-2017.

The restoration is being done at the railroad’s shops in Port Clinton, Pennsylvania.

The RBN&N said it carried 100,000 passengers on its excursion trains in 2015, which is about 30 percent higher than 2014 ridership.

RBM&N owns more than 300 miles of railroad along with operational steam locomotive No. 425, two rail-diesel cars and more than 35 diesel locomotives. It employs more than 200 people.