Reading & Northern Acquires Missing Link in Pennsylvania

Reading & Northern now owns the tracks that connect its Reading and Lehigh Divisions. Photo by C.N. Southwell.

Reading & Northern Acquires Missing Link in Pennsylvania

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

PORT CLINTON, Pa. — The Reading & Northern has acquired 19 miles of county-owned track that was the missing link between its Reading and Lehigh Divisions. The R&N now owns a continuous main line connecting Scranton to Reading, the first time any railroad has had such a connection. 

For years, the R&N has leased 19 miles of track from Carbon County to connect its two clusters of track: Conrail’s former Reading Cluster that it acquired in 1990 and the Lehigh Line that it purchased in 1996. For years, the trackage rights were more than enough for the R&N, but a few years ago, after making major improvements to its own line, the railroad decided it wanted to buy the final 19-mile gap so that it could improve that trackage as well. In May, it signed a deal to buy the line for $4.7 million. As part of the deal, the R&N will keep in place a lease with the current freight operator, C&S Railroad, which serves three customers on the route. 

“I am very grateful for the cooperation of all of the County Commissioners,” said R&N President Andy Muller. “We have been fortunate to have strong support from all the elected officials in Carbon County and many of them helped us in our efforts to connect our Reading and Lehigh divisions. My dream has long been to bring high-quality freight and passenger rail service to the region and nothing epitomizes that more than the creation of a high-speed rail line between Reading and Scranton.” 

This article was posted on: June 25, 2021