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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Reading & Northern logged record traffic, revenue in 2015


Reading & Northern Railroad achieved record carload volumes and revenue in 2015, the Port Clinton, Pa.-based regional announced yesterday.

The railroad handled 28,940 carloads, a 19 percent increase compared with 2014's record-setting number of carloads, Reading & Northern officials said in a press release.

The increased carload activity helped the railroad to reach record-breaking revenue in 2015, exceeding past revenue levels by more than 30 percent. Freight revenue was supplemented by revenue from new transloading and warehouse businesses, they said.

The regional handles a mix of commodities, including wood pulp, paper, metals, food products, plastics, forest products and chemicals and minerals. Reading & Northern also serves the North American anthracite coal market.

In 2015, the railroad performed well in all commodity areas except in business related to the Marcellus Shale. Like other railroads in the area, Reading & Northern saw its Marcellus-related business fall by two-thirds. However, the railroad picked up traffic in other areas by emphasizing customer service and taking an entrepreneurial focus.

"Our record breaking volumes for 2015 prove that our decision to offer our customers guaranteed service windows does grow the business," said Chief Executive Officer Andy Muller Jr. "And in 2016 we are taking this commitment one step further by improving our already excellent service by hiring more crews and running more trains faster."

Reading & Northern increased employment nearly 8 percent in 2015, and is currently hiring new employees, said President Wayne Michel. He also stressed that much of the growth in 2015 was due to efforts to develop more traffic.

"In 2015 Reading & Northern got into the warehouse business in order to serve customer demand," Michel said. "This follows our recent successful move into the transload business to better serve our customers. In addition, some of our customers needed to store their railroad cars as a result of market shifts. Reading & Northern forces reopened long unused railroad tracks and was able to handle thousands of storage cars."

Sister company Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway also logged a record year in 2015, as more than 100,000 visitors rode on one of its steam or diesel-powered excursion trains, company officials said.