READING, Pa. - The railroad can tell a story as long as the tracks that currently run through Berks County, but according to those behind a big undertaking in a new passenger line, this is a whole new chapter.
"It's really an economic development story," said John Weidenhammer, chairman of Berks Alliance. "We estimate that, overall, the restoration of passenger rail service from Philadelphia to Reading and beyond has a value of over $1 billion."
We know what the financial boost would be for the region, but what would the cost be for potential customers?
"At 20 cents a mile, it's a little over $10 a ticket, at $11.60," Weidenhammer explained. "At 28 cents a track mile, it's about $16."
The lowest proposed rates could even be $8.60 for a one-way trip. We know Reading and Philly to be the beginning and end points, but plans call for stops in between.
"The stops now that are being considered are Reading, Pottstown, Royersford, Phoenixville, then the transportation center in Norristown, and then four stops in Philly," Weidenhammer explained.
The current plans could have the first passenger taking a ride on the Reading-to-Philly line sometime in 2025.
"This is a marathon, not a sprint," Weidenhammer said, "and it's gonna take a lot of collaboration, because have to collaborate with a lot of parties. We need to work with Norfolk Southern to get this done, with SEPTA, with Amtrak."