Reading & Northern Purchases New Maintenance Facility

A Reading & Northern passenger train rolls past the KME fire truck plant in Nesquehoning, Pa. on Oct. 19, 2019. The railroad has purchased the complex and will use it for expanded equipment maintenance, repair and storage. Photo by M.T.Burkhart.

Reading & Northern Purchases New Maintenance Facility

By M.T.Burkhart

NESQUEHONING, Pa. – With an eye on its expanding business, Reading & Northern has purchased a 10-acre industrial site that will be used for equipment maintenance, repair and storage.

The former north campus of Kovatch Mobile Equipment, which made fire trucks, consists of nine buildings and was purchased for $2 million, the railroad announced last week. The property sits at the midpoint of the regional’s 400-mile system running from Reading in the south to Hazleton, Scranton and Mehoopany in the north. It’s also situated along the line purchased from Carbon County last year for $4.7 million (with $5 million in upgrades this year) connecting its Reading and Lehigh divisions.

“We are investing in our future and the future of the communities we serve,” Andy Muller, Jr., founder, and owner/CEO of Reading & Northern, said in a release. “Our company is growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, we believe we will be enjoying double-digit carload and revenue growth for years to come fueled in large part by the increasing worldwide demand for Pennsylvania anthracite coal.”

An employment staple in the Carbon County borough for 50 years, Kovatch was sold to REV Group six years ago. Last fall it was announced that operations in Nesquehoning would cease, with production moving elsewhere, and the property was put up for sale. Some of the buildings are equipped with heavy cranes capable of lifting equipment of varying weights.

“We anticipate locating important parts of our freight and passenger operations in Nesquehoning, which sits in such a perfect location for our railroad and our employees,” Muller said. “With over 1,600 freight cars and our ever-growing passenger fleet, which now consists of 47 cars, plus over 70 motor vehicles and countless number of other equipment for our track department and other departments, we were running out of space to keep our equipment well maintained.”

This article was posted on: April 28, 2022