Reading Blue Mountain and Northern
Region: Northeast Pennsylvania
Type: For profit
Predecessors: Conrail, various shortlines
RailroadReporting Mark: RBMN
Network Length: 400 miles
The Reading Blue Mountain and Northern is a regional railroad operating in Eastern Pennsylvania. They operate 2 divisions, the Reading Division in Southeast Pennsylvania, and the Lehigh Division in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The RBMN, originally the Blue Mountain and Reading, started in 1983 as a shortline operating the government owned line from Hamburg, PA to Temple, PA. In the coming years, they bought 3 other shortline railroads, and 150 miles of track from Conrail. It was at this time that the Blue Mountain and Reading changed their name to the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern. They spent the next few years repairing their badly neglected new tracks, and buying a few industrial tracks. Their purchase of the track to the Jeddo Coal Company allowed them to service the last Anthracite Coal operation in Eastern Pennsylvania, and 1995 they RBMN purchased their own fleet of hopper cars and moved their headquarters to Port Clinton, PA, where it still is today.
In 2001 the RBMN bought some 6-axle EMD locomotives to replace their aging fleet. They also took over service to Mehoopany’s Proctor and Gamble, which was previously a [[ Norfolk Southern ]] endeavour, and the Crestwood Industrial Park. In 2002 the RBMN entered into a trackage rights agreement with [[ NS // norfolk southern ]] to allow them to use the Lehigh Line to better access New York from Allentown. This agreement is still in use today.
In 2002, the RBMN wanted to connect their two divisions, so they bough two abandoned railroad bridges over the Lehigh river, and in 2003 opened them for service. With the RBMN’s immense growth and success, they opened the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway as a tourist attraction, which is still open to this day. At this time the owner, Andy Muller, decided to begin the restoration of their steam locomotives, and in 2007, the RBMN 425 was restored to service, pulling passenger excursions and OCS trains.
In 2009 the RBMN bought the short track from Towanda, PA to Monroe, PA, which is currently isolated from the rest of their network, and accessed via the [[ Lehigh Railway ]].
In 2012 the RBMN decided to purchase the tracks to yet another industrial park, the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazleton, which gave them a staggering 11 more customers. In 2016, the RBMN won the American Short line and Regional Railroad Association’s Marketing Award for the third time, this time for their establishment of the Old Forge transload facility.
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