Roundtable looks at proposed passenger rail line

Roundtable looks at proposed passenger rail line

Railroads have been a strong part of our area's history and the communities of Boyertown and Pottstown are now looking to bring passenger rail service back.

Wednesday very few trains go down the Colebrookdale Railroad's tracks.

"I remember it going," said Pottstown Council President, Stephen Toroney. "I'd hear the whistle near my house where it would cross over one of the crossings."

But people can see tourist trains and passenger rail coming back.

"I can picture people from Boyertown coming over on the train having horsd'oeuvres or cocktails on the train on the way over and going downtown," said Toroney.

"It really opens up the backdoor between Boyertown and Pottstown and you get to see the natural environment you wouldn't normally see," said Adrianne Blank, Main Street Manager of Building a Better Boyertown.

People from Pottstown and Boyertown the two ends of the almost 9 mile railroad and others came out to hear attorney Nathaniel Guest's proposal for a tourist operation on the line.

"This has happened successfully elsewhere even in our own area," said Guest. "So this is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Berks County owns the Colebrookdale Spur and the Eastern Berks Gateway Railroad operates it. They said right now there's only sporadic freight cars that are on it. And they would be open to passenger rail. But how much it would cost and where the money would come from is still unknown.

"It's really too early to say at this point. And that's because there's a range of possibilities," said Guest.

Guest said this meeting was to drum up support for the plan and to establish a working group of people for the project.

"And it's great all these folks are interested in this idea," said Guest, "They really do believe in it. And I think that is enough to make it happen."

He said this railway could help drive economic development to the area. And we could see a conductor yelling, "All aboard!" within five years.

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