PORT CLINTON, Pa. – Reading & Northern Railroad had another banner year breaking previous records for carloadings, freight revenue, and excursion ticket sales, the railroad says.
Despite the fact that the national rail freight industry suffered a 5% decline in traffic, R&N had a 6% increase in carloadings. R&N ended the year hauling over 34,000 carloads, a 2,000 carload increase from 2018. Revenues were up by double digits as a result of changes in traffic mix and implementation of strategies to increase R&N length of hauls in order to reduce transit time.
“We are committed to growing our business. Growth is good for our employees, the communities we serve and the customers we service,” says CEO said Andy Muller Jr. “In order to grow we must invest in our railroad and our employees and I will continue to plow our profits back into taking care of our employees and the railroad.”
Traffic numbers would have been even more robust if not for the loss of 1,000 carloads of export anthracite coal business. That reduction was more than offset by the fact that 20 existing online customers increased their rail business by more than 10%.
In 2019, the railroad purchased 236 freight cars, mostly for anthracite coal service, two F unit locomotives, a welded rail train and 24,000 ties. R&N also continued its investment in its Nesquehoning Bridge project, which is expected to open for business in the first quarter of 2020. By the time the bridge is completed the railroad will have spent more than $4 million of its own capital to build this link. The railroad also hired 31 people during the year.
Traffic numbers are expected to increase in 2020 as a number of industrial development projects begin a full year of service. 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 carloadings substantially in 2020. There are a number of other industrial projects in the pipeline that should begin operation in mid-2020.