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Reading & Northern Railroad (R&N) logged a 6 percent increase in carloads in 2019 compared with 2018, the Pennsylvania-based regional announced yesterday.Last year, the railroad broke previous records for carloads, freight revenue and excursion ticket sales, company officials said in a press release.The R&N hauled more than 34,000 carloads in 2019, a 2,000 carload increase from 2018 levels. Revenue rose "by double digits" as a result of changes in traffic mix and the implementation of strategies to increase R&N's length of hauls in order to reduce transit time, they said.R&N posted a decrease of 1,000 carloads of export anthracite coal, but that reduction "was more than offset" by 20 existing on-line customers increasing their rail business by more than 10 percent.R&N officials attributed the increase in on-line customer business to the railroad's new guaranteed service program, which offers customers a guaranteed two-hour service window and five-day-a-week minimum service. R&N met that schedule 99 percent of the time, they said."Traffic numbers will only increase in 2020 as a number of industrial development projects begin a full year of service," R&N officials said. "R&N had two significant new customers come on-line in the fourth quarter at the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazleton that will grow the carloads substantially in 2020."A number of other industrial projects in the pipeline are expected to begin operation in mid-2020, they added.Moreover, R&N has "significantly grown" its anthracite coal business by working with offline steel mills and interline partner Norfolk Southern Railway."With more on-line coal facilities and production starting in 2020 and more steel mills signing up to receive Pennsylvania anthracite, R&N anticipates significant growth in the coal business for years to come," company officials said.Meanwhile, R&N sister company Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway (LSGR) increased ridership last year, as more than 143,000 people used one of R&N’s many passenger train offerings."This accomplishment is more noteworthy given that R&N shut down its LGSR operations in Jim Thorpe in November due to a tax dispute with the borough’s council," said R&N officials. "While that issue remains unresolved, R&N is confident that its extensive passenger program will thrive in 2020 with new offerings and new equipment."