Sunday, October 12, 2014

You'll Be Riding on the Railroad

The unofficial opening of the Secret Valley Line of the Colebrookdale Railroad begins next weekend when rides on the train will begin.

Called "Hayride on the Rails," the rides available, starting Oct. 18, will leave from Boyertown and be undertaken in the restored "1910-era open car;" the circa-1941 caboose and the circa 1927 coach.

"This is very exciting, a big moment for the Colebrookdale, and we want you to be part of it," said Colebrookdale Preservation Trust Executive Director Nathaniel Guest.

A typical schedule will see every Saturday and Sunday (and selected Friday evenings) and will depart at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., but would-be riders are advised to check for daily schedule and special events.

Mercury Photo by John Strickler
The cars in which rides will be offered are shown here.
Ticket prices are as follows:
  • Adults: $25 on-line, $27 walk-up;
  • Children: $18 online or $24 walk-up;
  • Under 2: $5 on-line or $10 for walk-up.
So obviously, the folks at the railroad want to encourage people to buy their tickets on-line.

For those who eschew electronic commerce, tickets can be purchased at the gatehouse on Philadelphia Avenue in Boyertown on ride days.

The three-hour rides along the nine-mile line, completed in 1868, will depart only from Boyertown this year, where a boarding platform is now being constructed and given that there is no station facility yet in Pottstown.

The Frank Furness train station in Birdsboro that
is to be moved to Memorial Park in Pottstown.
That station, a Frank Furness design now in Birdsboro, cannot be established in Pottstown without $250,000 being raised. a goal these ticket sales will help fund.

The money will be a match for the $676,000 grant the railroad has received from the state.

The start of that capital effort occurred recently at the State Theater in Boyertown where more than 200 people filled the seats for a special entertainment event, featuring an auction and the showing of a silent film.

But even without platforms, the trains will run because, as Guest put it, "the beauty of the Secret Valley, here along the Colebrookdale, needs no adornment and we've had many, many requests to see the line in its fall splendor and we don't want to disappoint."

The official opening of the rail line is still scheduled for next year.

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