The Reading & Northern Railroad (RBMN) has delivered the first plastic pellet hopper railcars to IRIS USA, its newest customer in the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazleton, Pa. IRIS, headquartered in Sendai, Japan, manufactures plastic organizational products and containers for home and office applications. Humboldt Industrial Park is its first location on the U.S. East Coast.
Signing on IRIS USA as an RBMN customer culminates efforts that began in March 2017 when the Class II first learned that the large international producer of plastics products was seeking a new location. Reading & Northern— Railway Age’s 2002, 2011, 2015 and 2020 Regional of the Year— worked with regional economic development companies CAN DO Inc., Penn’s Northeast and others to help IRIS locate and choose the Humboldt site. The Governor’s Action Team, Hazle Township, Hazleton School board and Luzerne County also assisted with tax incentives through Pennsylvania’s LERTA (Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance) program.
“An important element of the final site selection was our ability to build the necessary track infrastructure on time and on budget,” the railroad noted. “Reading & Northern also offers a dedicated customer service group and provides a scheduled delivery service within a two-hour service window. We are nationally recognized for our efforts in customer service and are the only four-time winner of Railway Age’s “Regional Railroad of the Year” award in recognition of our business development successes. We are delighted to have IRIS USA on board and we welcome them to the family of Reading & Northern customers.”
Reading & Northern, with corporate headquarters in Port Clinton, Pa., is a privately held Class II serving more than 70 customers in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties (Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Wyoming). It has expanded its operations over the past 30-plus years and now handles more than 34,000 carloads of freight and 140,000 excursion train riders over 400 miles of track. RBMN operates freight services and steam and diesel-powered excursion passenger services, owns almost 1,300 freight cars and employs nearly 300.