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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Reading & Northern broke traffic, revenue records in 2014


Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad Co. (RBMN) in 2014 handled 24,365 carloads, a 3.2 percent increase versus 2013's total and a new record, besting the previous high-water mark set in 2011. The short line broke its revenue record in 2014, too.

The traffic growth was impressive since the railroad's vital anthracite coal unit-train business declined 21 percent due to severe price competition from foreign coal producers, RBMN officials said in a press release.

The anthracite coal drop-off was more than offset by 7 percent increases in domestic coal and merchandise carloads, they said. The merchandise business, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of total traffic, includes a diverse mix of commodities such as wood pulp, paper, metals, food products, plastics, forest products, chemicals and minerals.

"Our record-breaking volumes for 2014 are the result of our philosophy of putting our customers first," said Andy Muller Jr., RBMN's owner and chief executive officer, adding that the short line met a goal to serve all customers within a two-hour window 99 percent of the time.

In addition, the railroad developed new transloading facilities in Cressona and Penobscot, Pa., that have been "very successful" and generated substantial business growth, said RBMN President Wayne Michel.

"As a result of our local ownership, we are able to invest quickly in new facilities for ourselves and new customers to the railroad," he said. "These new facilities and new customers enable our company to grow our business."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/9/2015