In a recent article, The Time Tribune attributed the increased rail traffic to Linde Corporation.
by BORYS KRAWCZENIUK, Staff Writer Dec. 9. 2018
Authority eyes breaking last year’s freight record
Fracking for Marcellus Shale natural gas deep underground keeps pushing a local railroad to new heights.
After setting a new record for freight traffic last year, the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority might just do it again for 2018.
Through Nov. 21, the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, which operates the authority’s tracks, hauled 8,301 carloads of freight this year, just shy of the 8,572-carload in 2017, said Larry Malski, the authority’s longtime executive director.
“We’re going to blast through that next month,” Malski said. “We’ve had a little boom with the Marcellus gas stuff.”
He attributed most of the surge to increases in demand for fracking sand by the Linde Corp., which supplies the sand to drillers out of a railroad yard in Carbondale and also builds gas pipelines.
Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, uses specially made sand mixed with chemicals and water in a high-powered drilling spray that fractures rock to free underground gas.
“People have said this Marcellus gas thing is going to die off and go away, but the forecasts that we’re hearing from our customers and the people that are doing the drilling is that it’s going to increase next year,” Malski said.
Efforts to reach Linde officials were unsuccessful.
“We bring the sand cars up there, he unloads them into trucks and takes it right to the wellheads,” Malski said. “That thing really has taken off. He actually built more track this year. He’s actually laying track in Carbondale yard up there, which, of course, was ripped out up there 60 years ago.”
Back in the region’s coalmining days, the rail yard served as one of the largest in the country for transferring coal, Malski said. Now, it’s the focal point for another local natural resource.
“We’re bringing it (sand) in in 100-car trains,” Malski said. “Before this all took off, trains going to Carbondale might have had five to 10 cars at most with the few industries we have up that way.”
Increases in carloads from Valley Distributing & Storage Co., which has a South Scranton warehouse, and Simona America, an Archbald plastics manufacturer, have also fueled the local railroad’s increase, Malski said.
Kyle Dickinson, Valley’s sales director, said a shortage of truck drivers has companies using railroads more frequently to ship products to the company’s 450,000-square-foot city warehouse.
The authority owns and operates 85 miles of track in Lackawanna and Monroe counties. The Delaware-Lackawanna has operated on its tracks since August 1993.