Posts Tagged ‘short line 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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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.

Catching Up With the Union Railroad

March 21, 2018

I also caught last weekend during my trip to Pennsylvania a Union Railroad train climbing Dravosburg grade on Sunday morning. Notice it’s a mainline but both tracks are jointed rail. Also the tracks are weathered from heavy sand use. Finally, a caboose brings up the rear. All Union trains still use cabooses. It’s a throwback to old school railroading in this modern era.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

North Shore RR Names New CEO

October 25, 2017

North Shore Railroad of Pennsylvania has named Jebediah Stotter as its president and chief executive officer effective Oct. 19.

Stotter joined the Northumberland-based company in 2001 and most recently served as its vice president and chief operating officer.

He also has served as customer service manager and director of administration and customer service. He was named vice president in 2013, and vice president and COO in 2015.
Stotter will succeed the retiring Gary Shields.

The North Shore operates six short-line railroads using 247 miles of track in central Pennsylvania.

Ed’s Trip to Pennsylvania (Part 2)

September 22, 2017

Everett Railroad No. 11 crossing the Little Juniata after departing Hollidaysburg.

After spending some time catching Amtrak and Norfolk Southern trains in downtown Altoona, we motored out to the Everett Railroad where we rode and chased.

After the train arrived at Roaring Springs, I drove back to Duncansville to an antique mall to check out the Alto Model Railroad, which is open on Saturday and Sunday. It was worth it with all scales represented with fabulous operating layouts.

Afterwards it was back to the Everett where the train returned and we got No. 11 heading to the wye to be turned.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Passing through Roaring Spring.

At Roaring Spring.

Nearing Martinsburg in the first of a two photo sequence. I talked with Jerry Jordak at this spot. He was chasing, also, then working his way to the Penn Central Historical Society Convention in Harrisburg.

Turning the locomotive on the wye.

Just west of Martinsburg on the return.

Arriving at Roaring Spring for water and ice cream stop.

Heading to the wye on the old Pennsy main, which used to head toward old Muleshoe Curve.

Heading into the wye. This track goes north to Altoona to connect at Alto tower.

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.