Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad announced that is has acquired a short-line between Towanda and Monroeton, in northeastern Pennsylvania.

RBMN, which currently operates over 300 miles of railroad in Eastern Pennsylvania, including Carbon County, purchased the assets of the approximately six-mile Towanda-Monroeton Shippers Lifeline Railroad Inc. from former owner, Joseph Zadrusky of Scranton, on Dec. 30, 2009. The line is approximately 40 miles north of RBMN's current terminus in Mehoopany, Pa.

RBMN will be able to connect the two lines by working with Lehigh Railway L.L.C., which leases a Norfolk Southern Railway line that connects to the Towanda-Monroeton line.

Andrew M. Muller Jr., CEO of RBMN, said the acquisition is a big step in growing rail operations in the area.

"We see this acquisition as an opportunity to offer more service options to customers working in the Marcellus Shale region," Muller said. "With our assets and market reach, we will be able to grow the business on the line substantially."

Wayne A. Michel, president of RBMN, added that the railroad plans to market the Towanda segment to natural gas producers.

"We know there are many railroad opportunities related to the Marcellus Shale and we will be pursuing them diligently in the weeks and months ahead," Michel said. "Already on our railroad, we recently opened the largest frac sand terminal in the region at our Pittston Yard near Scranton and we will be moving brine water this month out of Mehoopany."

Reading and Northern Railroad, with its corporate headquarters in Port Clinton, is a privately held railroad company serving major businesses in eight counties in Pennsylvania, including Carbon, Schuylkill, Luzerne, Northumberland, Lehigh, Lackawanna, Berks, and Wyoming.