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Reading & Northern Railroad yesterday announced it acquired the former north campus of the Kovatch Fire Truck company, a complex of nine buildings spread across 10 acres in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania.
The $2 million purchase includes buildings with heavy crane systems. The storage and maintenance facility at the location will serve Reading & Northern's fleet, which consists of more than 1,600 freight cars, 47 passenger rail cars and other equipment, said founder and CEO Andy Muller Jr. in a press release.
"We anticipate locating important parts of our freight and passenger operations in Nesquehoning, which sits in such a perfect location for our railroad and our employees," Muller said. "We now will have the room to grow our equipment maintenance and repair facilities as well as providing much needed storage."
The site is in the middle of the short line’s 400-mile rail system that runs from Reading in the south to Hazleton, Scranton and Mehoopany in the north. It's alongside a rail line that Reading & Northern purchased in 2021 from Carbon County that connects the Reading and Lehigh divisions, railroad officials said.
The Kovatch company was sold to fire truck manufacturer KME in 2016. KME ceased operations in fall 2021 and put the property up for sale. As part of an agreement with KME, Reading & Northern will allow the manufacturer to lease the facilities so they can finish building the final fire trucks that came from the original Kovatch location.