Reading & Northern Railroad (R&N) has announced that records were broken for revenues, freight carload traffic and excursion passengers in 2018. The railroad posted double digit growth in freight and passenger revenue for the year.
Anthracite coal showed the most growth in carloads, with more than 1,300 carloads originating from the Hazleton Shaft, which R&N began service to in 2017. Forest Products business remains R&N's largest single source of income. The railroad recently purchased its first warehouse in Ransom, Penn., allowing woodpulp and other forest products producers to ship their raw materials by rail off of Norfolk Southern or Canadian Pacific origins to a central location in northeast Pennsylvania.
In 2018, R&N and its sister company Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, broke ridership records, with 143,000 people riding on passenger train excursions.
“Our customers in both the freight and passenger worlds demand more service,” remarked Andy Muller, Jr., R&N owner and chief executive officer. “That’s why we purchased a warehouse and built more freight facilities this year and that is why we opened Outer Station in North Reading and expanded our passenger offerings this year.”
“I will continue to give our employees the tools they need to succeed, and I will continue to take our profits and invest them into making our freight and passenger experience second to none,” added Muller.
R&N will invest in four large customer development projects in 2019 that require construction of eight switches and two miles of new sidings. In December 2018, the company purchased four additional locomotives and plans on purchasing 150 to 250 additional freight cars in 2019 for its growing coal business.
“To grow the business and satisfy your customers you have to invest,” said Muller. “We invest in our people and in our infrastructure. That’s how we provide a safe, dependable service day in and day out.”