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Pennsylvania short line restores service to long-unused line

Shamokin Valley Railroad Co. recently began moving coal over a portion of its line that had been out of service since the 1970s.

The 37-mile short line weekly moves four trains from Mount Carmel, Pa., where it interchanges with The Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad, to Sunbury L.L.C.'s power plant in Shamokin Dam. Coal previously was shipped to the plant by truck.

Since acquiring Shamokin Valley Railroad in 1989, SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) has maintained the Mount Camel Junction-to-Shamokin Dam track.

"This really points up the need to retain our region's rail lines and keep them ready for traffic, said JRA Director Jeff Stover in a prepared statement.

Flagmen currently control traffic at Shamokin Dam crossings as coal trains move through town because signal lights aren't working. JRA plans to restore the signals within the year.

JRA, which owns five other Pennsylvania short lines, tries to maintain all its railroads' track — used or unused, said Stover.

That paid off several years ago when 71-mile Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad Co. began moving about 14,000 carloads annually between Milesburg and Lock Haven, Pa., on a line that was out of service for years. Norfolk Southern Railway also daily moves coal trains over the line.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/4/2002