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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

After reaching carload heights in 2002, Reading & Northern set to soar again in 2003

In 2002, The Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad (RBM&N) handled the most traffic in its 20-year history and surpassed 20,000 annual carloads for the first time, moving 21,492 compared with 18,497 in 2001.

"We have a strong and diverse traffic base augmented by substantial revenues from our trackage rights agreements with Norfolk Southern Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway," said Wayne Michel, RBM&N executive vice president of railroad operations, in a prepared statement, adding that the short line has identified business opportunities for 2003 and 2004.

One of those opportunities is rail-car storage. After developing the business segment last year, the 314-mile short line now stores about 2,000 cars on unused yard tracks and branch lines.

In 2002, RBM&N increased sand and stone moves by acquiring Berks Products' business. The short line moves sand from southern New Jersey to the Berks County, Pa., shipper. Once unloaded, the same train moves quarry stone to southern New Jersey for use in highway construction and related projects.

The railroad also moved more pulpboard and paper-product, lumber and grain carloads. During the past 18 months, RBM&N upgraded its locomotive fleet — acquiring 17 six-axle, high-horsepower, dynamic-brake equipped units — and improved infrastructure.

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More News from 3/11/2003