Posts Tagged ‘short line railroads of Pennsylvania’

Short Lines Mark Safety Milestone

June 7, 2021

A short line holding company with properties in Pennsylvania said last week that it passed a safety milestone last week when its three operating railroad subsidiaries each achieved three years without a personal injury as defined by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Carload Express owns the Allegheny Valley Railroad, the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad and the Delmarva Central Railroad.

Carload said its companies and their 100 employees operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week, serving about 100 customers on 331 route miles of track.

Each employee received a safety dividend in appreciation for their contribution.

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.

Ed’s Pennsylvania Adventure: Part 2

August 22, 2018

The 2018 convention of the National Railway Historical Society was held recently in Cumberland, Maryland.

On Saturday morning, convention attendees boarded buses and made the trip to Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, to board a chartered Everett Railroad steam train.

I didn’t attend the convention, but was also present for the trip to chase it.

Even though I’ve done the Everett several times I faced a challenge because of the overcast skies. I opted for locations where the morning light would produce better images for locations I’ve gotten previously.

However, all morning the heavy overcast resulted in locations I previously had done ending up with similar results. I’m sending along locations not shown before.

In the top image the train passes a horse grazing in a field north of Kladder

In the top image below, the steamer turns east toward Martinsburg approaching Route 36. The following image shows the train heading back after turning at the Martinsburg passing dairy plant.

In the next image, the train arrives at Roaring Springs station for where the conventioneers had lunch.

After our Everett Railroad outing had ended the clouds disappeared and we had sunshine for the Altoona Curve doubleheader baseball game that was to begin at 4:30 p.m. at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

The exterior of the ballpark simulates a roundhouse. Everything, including the gift shop, mascots and food items, are railroad terms. The former Pennsy K4 is alive and well.

Overlooking the outfield is the Lakemont amusement park roller coaster, hopefully to reopen next season.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Pa. Rail Network Sets Carload Records

July 31, 2018

A unit of the Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority has reported handling a 13 percent increase in carloads for the first six months of 2018.

The Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad hauled 4,839 carloads among Carbondale, Scranton, the Pocono Mountains and the Delaware Water Gap in Lackawanna and Monroe counties.

PNRRA President Larry Malski said the rail system handled a record 8,572 cars last year.

The 1,068 carloads handled by the DL during this past June is a monthly record since the Authority was formed in 1982 to acquire and save the regional rail lines that were being abandoned and liquidated.

Malski said the authority is starting the process of relaying some of the double track and yard tracks that were removed in the 1980s, funded in part by a grant of $980,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Rail Freight.

The tracks will allow the DLRR to add expanded capacity needed to handle the increasing carloads moving over the regional rail system. This includes service to two new industries, Scranton Transload in Scranton and Northwoods Paper in Stroud Township.

Appeals Court Reverses Course in SEDA-COG Dispute

July 3, 2018

The fight over a Pennsylvania short-line railroad took another turn last week when a Pennsylvania state appeals court reversed its earlier order and instructed a lower court in Clinton County to reconsider a short line service contract approved by the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority Board of Directors.

The legal action stemmed from the Susquehanna Union Railroad, also known as the North Shore Railroad, being turned down by SEDA-COG for a seven-year operating contract. Instead, the contract went to Carload Express of Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

Susquehanna Union has operated the lines in question since they were purchased by the state from Conrail in 1984.

In awarding the operating contract to Carload Express, SEDA-COG said it used a scoring system that showed Carload Express scored one point higher than Susquehanna Union.

The line is made up of five branches and 200 miles of track in central Pennsylvania.

The 2015 decision has displeased both railroads with each filing lawsuits.

One issue is that state law requires nine of the board’s 16 members to approve the contract, but six members abstained during the voting.

In sending the case back the appeals court said the lower court “failed to resolve all issues” and additional pertinent information has since been disclosed.

The latter includes a news report saying that in a sworn deposition, a SEDA-COG board member said he had given no points to the North Shore when submitting his tally in 2015, but had planned to give the railroad 60 out of a possible 100 points.

That would have been enough to put Susquehanna Union into a tie with Carload Express.

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.

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.

Cyber Bandits Nab $80,000 From Strasburg Rail Road

April 17, 2018

A cyber attack on the Pennsylvania-based Strasburg Rail Road netted thieves $80,000 this month.

The attack, which officials at the tourist railroad described as “elaborate and sophisticated,” involved gaining access to corporate files and information that the thieves used to transfer funds out of the railroad’s accounts.

Steve Barrall of the railroad said officials do not know where the funds went but they are working with banks to recover as much as possible. The Pennsylvania state police have also been brought in on the case.

“At no time was any customer information or financial information compromised.” Barrall said.

Information technology personnel helped the Strasburg to thwart further attacks.

The Strasburg Rail Road is located near Lancaster and is adjacent to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.