RBM&N railroad earns high award
PORT CLINTON — The American Shortline and Regional Railroad Association has given the industry’s highest award for marketing achievement to the locally based Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad.
This is the fourth time, according to an RBM&N release, that the railroad has won “this prestigious award” in the last eight years.
Bill Clark, senior vice president-coal, recently accepted the award at a ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee.
The association recognized RBM&N for its efforts to connect a large anthracite coal producer, Atlantic Coal, Hazleton, to the interstate railroad system, according to the release, which added the project was made more complicated because the facility was along the lines of Norfolk Southern Railroad. RBM&N had rights to travel over the Norfolk Southern line and with the support of the Norfolk Southern Coal Business Group, RBM&N was able to get permission to connect to the Atlantic Coal facility.
“This cooperative effort was an acknowledgment of the unique role Reading & Northern holds in transporting Pennsylvania anthracite,” railroad officials said in the release.
RBM&N has acquired more than 1,200 coal cars and a weigh-in-motion scale in North Reading to facilitate the movement of Pennsylvania anthracite. At Reading, the rail cars filled with anthracite are interchanged to Norfolk Southern. In 2017 more than 7,300 cars were interchanged to Norfolk Southern.
“This close working relationship caused Norfolk Southern to greenlight the Reading & Northern plan to connect with Atlantic Coal,” according to the release, which added, “Even after that approval it took almost seven years of hard work and persistence for Reading & Northern and Atlantic Coal to complete the project. Atlantic Coal had to acquire government approvals to build the track and ultimately Reading & Northern completed the construction in 2017.”
It is anticipated that Atlantic Coal will soon be shipping more than 2,000 carloads a year, thus removing more than 8,000 trucks from local roads and highways.
Over the last 5 years, Reading & Northern’s carloadings increased 50 percent; in 2017, it broke all its freight records and handled more than 31,000 carloads.
In addition, Reading & Northern’s passenger operation, the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, also broke all previous ridership records as more than 120,000 visitors boarded its trains.
RBM&N, with corporate headquarters in Port Clinton, is a privately held railroad company serving more than 70 customers in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties — Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Wyoming. It operates freight services and steam and diesel-powered excursion passenger services. It owns, according to the release, nearly 1,300 freight cars and employs
more than 200 employees.