Railway Preservation News

Reading & Northern Shops/Service Update
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Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Tue Mar 12, 2024 2:26 am ]
Post subject:  Reading & Northern Shops/Service Update

Photos at https://www.rbmnrr-passenger.com/news/2 ... us-updates

March 11, 2024 – Port Clinton, PA – Since acquiring the former KME properties in Nesquehoning in 2022, the Reading & Northern Railroad has made great progress in shaping the campus as its own. Many departments have established a presence at the Nesquehoning Campus; however, there is lots more work to be done.

The location of the Nesquehoning Campus is most ideal, as it is situated right in the middle of our busy main line between Reading and Scranton, PA. Tracks are under construction to lead into select existing buildings, some of which are tailor-made for the servicing of our ever-expanding fleet of diesel locomotives, which currently totals 63. This will mark the first time in over 75 years where locomotives would be maintained and repaired in Carbon County. In addition to our locomotives, we own a vast array of company vehicles varying in size from common automobiles to large trucks; all of which are serviced and maintained at the Nesquehoning Campus. The campus even has its own classroom, used for the training and qualifying of employees, primarily in the Transportation Department.

The other buildings on campus house our Maintenance of Way, Signals, Real Estate, and Passenger Departments, totaling over 30 people working at the site already. Maintenance of Way (or MOW) and Signals work together to ensure the overall safety of the railroad. MOW’s focus is the upkeep of the track structure on the entire railroad. The Signal Department maintains not only the signaling system that helps control train movements along said track, but also the automatic warning devices at our highway grade crossings that help keep the public safe in the communities we serve. Real Estate handles all matters related to company property, which encompasses far more than just our existing trackage.

The Passenger Department has a building of its own at the Nesquehoning Campus, and big plans are in the works for the future. Reading & Northern will be introducing the Nesquehoning Regional Railroad Station in 2024. Plans for a station platform are underway right now, as well as an additional main track to accommodate more train traffic. This will create numerous opportunities for new excursion routes. Tickets for two such excursions are on sale now. The railroad’s famous Iron Horse Rambles, featuring its largest steam locomotive, 4-8-4 T-1 class #2102, will operate from the new station in Nesquehoning on June 22 to Tunkhannock; and on August 17 to Pittston. Another excursion, featuring the handsome streamlined F-unit diesel locomotives, on August 18 to Pittston is planned as well. The railroad will also seek to connect Nesquehoning to neighboring Jim Thorpe (home of the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway) during peak times to cut down on traffic congestion and parking issues in the popular and historic town.

Finally, after a decades-long hiatus, Reading & Northern will be relaunching the Black Diamond Company Store, based at the Nesquehoning Campus. This store, which has already established an online platform, will offer customers the chance to browse and purchase numerous long-requested railroad-related items such as t-shirts, hats, and even puzzles depicting artwork and photos of our trains. On busier weekends, the store will also have a display at the Jim Thorpe station.

Reading & Northern Railroad, with its corporate headquarters in Port Clinton, is a privately held railroad company serving over 80 customers in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties (Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill, and Wyoming). It has expanded its operations over the last 40 years; and now handles nearly 40,000 carloads of freight (which removes over 200,000 trucks from the highway), while its Passenger Department handles over 300,000 riders annually. Reading & Northern operates its freight and steam- and diesel-powered passenger excursions over 400 miles of track, owns over 2,000 freight cars, and employs over 350 dedicated people. Reading & Northern has been repeatedly honored as one of the premier railroads in the nation, including being named Regional Railroad of the Year in 2020 by Railway Age magazine.

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