Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Historic Colebrookdale Railroad Project Not So Secret Anymore

Could Boyertown soon have a new train station?
BOYERTOWN -- You can add Boyertown Borough to the list of places that support the proposal to run an historic tourist train on the old Colebrookdale Railroad line between Pottstown and Boyertown.

The tentative name for the line is The Secret Valley Railroad.

Nathaniel Guest, the Pottsgrove native who is heading up the effort, recently asked Boyertown Borough Council to consider looking into using a grant to study the possibility of making a station part of a downtown plan.

The borough has a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to plan a parking lot on borough property by the rail yard at East Third and Washington streets where the rail line ends.

The plans included a 20,000 square-foot building, for which a community center, library and home for the historical society are being considered.
The Colebrookdale Line entering downtown Boyertown.

Guest made a presentation to borough council, which agreed to ask DCED if the funds also could be used to study the property to include whether a station of some sort might be located and DCED agreed.

The group and the borough are waiting for DCED to grant a time extension on the grant so the borough can consider final action on the study.

If you would like to know more about the project, a presentation by the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust will be held tonight at the Boyertown Historical Society, 43 Chestnut St. in Boyertown, at 7 p.m.

According to it's web site, the CRPT is "a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing an on-going tourist passenger operation on the Colebrookdale Railroad. The Trust will assist the line's designated operator, the Eastern Berks Gateway Railroad, and the line's owner, Berks County, to restore and enhance this remarkable resource for the benefit of the people of Southeastern Pennsylvania now and into the future."

Berks County purchased the 8.6-mile line in 2009 for $1.35 million.

Primarily now a freight line, the CRPT wants to establish an historic tourist line much like lines in New Hope and Strasburg.

The idea has drawn enthusiastic support from a wide variety of entities.

One of several scenic bridges along the Colebrookdale line
They include: Pottstown Borough, the Pottstown School District, the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee, the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, the Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative, the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society, the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority, the Greater Reading Convention and visitors Bureau, the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce. Building a Better Boyertown to name a few.

The CRPT has a web site here with more information, including a draft prospectus of the project.

Below is a YouTube video produced to introduce people to the Colebrookdale Line and how it could become a tourist attraction.

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