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Reading & Northern railroad posts record year

Port Clinton-based Reading & Northern Railroad set a record in 2017.

Almost 120,000 people rode on the Reading and Northern and Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway passenger trains in 2017. This is a 15 percent increase from 2016’s record-breaking year when Reading & Northern broke the 100,000-passenger mark for the second time running.

Much of this growth was created by the opening of the new Reading Outer Station in Muhlenberg Township north of Reading. The grounds include a Victorian-era switch tender’s tower complete with clean restrooms, and overhung steps from the expanded parking lot to the newly created passenger loading platform.

Completed in 2017, this new facility served as a gateway to the Reading & Northern passenger offerings. Long active in providing passenger excursion services through its Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe, Reading & Northern expanded into Berks County with the Reading Outer Station.

From Memorial Day through November, Reading & Northern used its rail diesel cars to take passengers for a ride along its mainline route from Reading Outer Station. The RDC consist has sliding-windows, a snack counter, and 132 seats making it a convenient and comfortable ride for our guests.

In October, Reading & Northern shifted the starting location for its Fall Foliage specials from Port Clinton to Reading Outer Station. Extra trains were added and almost 6,000 visitors rode these trains. Approximately 1,200 more people requested tickets for this popular excursion and had to be turned away.

Reading Outer Station continued to break records this winter as over 3,500 people, mostly children, rode on Reading & Northern’s famous Santa Trains.

In Jim Thorpe, our successful Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway operation including the Hometown High Bridge trains and Bike Trains handling nearly 100,000 people in 2017- a 20 percent growth in ridership.

For more information, visit www.rbmnrr-passenger.com and www.lgsry.com.