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Reading and Northern takes delivery of newly rebuilt passenger units

PHOTO PROVIDED One of the newly purchased diesel-electric engines that Reading and Northern has acquired for passenger excursions.

PORT CLINTON – Reading & Northern Railroad (R&N) recently purchased two diesel-electric engines from the Norfolk Southern Railroad to use in upcoming passenger excursions.

The diesel engines, commonly referred to as “F Units” have a heritage dating all the way back to the early 1950’s. They were rebuilt approximately 15 years ago by Norfolk Southern Railroad at their Altoona, PA locomotive shops for executive train travel on the NS system. By late 2019, NS auctioned the engines and eventually the Reading & Northern became their new home.

The two diesels, numbered 270 and 275, were received by R&N in late December. The R&N Motive Power department examined both diesels before repainting them with a Reading and Northern paint scheme. The engines will be on display for the public’s viewing pleasure, from time-to-time, at Reading Outer Station for the next few months where parking is free.

On Saturday, April 18, the first railfan train excursion will depart the Reading Outer Station located at PA Route 61 and Bellevue Avenue to traverse the R&N mainline from Reading to Pittston, PA. Highlights will include the Hometown High Bridge and the newly constructed river bridge, which is adjacent to the Lehigh Gorge State Park, over the Lehigh River.

Interest in this trip is very strong, with ticket sales generated from people as far away as Southern California. Tickets for the first F Unit trip were put on sale Jan. 6, with some seating options selling out within a 24 hour period. Seeing how popular the first excursion has become, railroad officials are currently planning additional trips to be powered by the F Units this year.

For more information on the April 18 trip and other future excursions, please visit the railroad at www.rbmnrr-passenger.com or call the passenger office at 610-562-2102.

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Reading & Northern Railroad, with its corporate headquarters in Port Clinton, is a privately held railroad company serving over 70 customers in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties (Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Wyoming). It has expanded its operations over the last 30+ years and now handles well over 34,000 carloads of freight and 140,000 excursion train riders over 400 miles of track. Reading and Northern operates both freight services and steam and diesel-powered excursion passenger services, owns almost 1,300 freight cars, and employs nearly 300 dedicated employees. Reading & Northern has repeatedly been honored as one of the premier railroads in the nation.

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