Thursday, November 24, 2016

Colebrookdale Railroad Gets $10K from Mascaro, Offers Thanksgiving Message to Supporters

The Colebrookdale Railroad makes its way through the "Secret Valley."

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by the Colebrookdale Railroad.

The Francesco A. Mascaro Charitable Trust recently presented the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust with a charitable contribution of $10,000 to support the non-profit’s work to revitalize local economies through the restoration of the Civil War-era Colebrookdale Railroad. 

The funds will be used as a challenge for the Trust’s end-of-year campaign for operational funding.

“We are pleased to be a faithful supporter of the Colebrookdale’s work,” said Lindsay Mascaro Ptaszenski, who oversees the distribution from the Mascaro Charitable Trust. 

The interior of the Storm King car.
 “Our support last year helped with the restoration of the Storm King parlor car, and we are proud to say it is one of the most beautiful railroad cars in the nation,” she said.

Mascaro’s funding is part of the organization’s long-standing commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities it serves. 

“Mascaro’s support has been critical to our growth and will be critical to our continued success. Their support of our end-of-year campaign means we can continue to employ staff whose work results in over $2 million of annual economic impact to Boyertown,” said Nathaniel Guest, Executive Director of the Colebrookdale. 

“As we know, jobs are critically needed and Mascaro is helping us make that happen,” he said.

Mascaro's support comes in time for the railroad's busiest season. Santa Claus rides the trains to the delight of young and old. See for tickets.

The donation also comes at a time that Guest issued a Thanksgiving statement to its supporters, thanking them for their support over the years:
The first train we ran in 2014 signaled the rebirth of a passenger railroad through the Secret Valley. While our vision was, and for that matter still is, simple, that task was daunting. Working with local governments, and a ground swell of popular support, we continue to be determined to develop a tourist railroad that that would drive economic development in the place we call home.
Before we could make that first run, we needed to raise funds to secure and restore equipment, obtain the necessary approvals to bring our railroad into service again, rebuild 9 miles of neglected track, and recruit volunteers.
Looking back, I am grateful to the hundreds of people who have contributed to this endeavor. Our volunteers have given thousands of hours rebuilding our cars, maintaining the track, and upgrading our facilities. Our conductors and engineers, brakemen, car hosts, and dining and parlor attendants—all volunteers—have undergone countless hours of training to transport our passengers back in time. Their effort has been rewarded. Trip Advisor made us the highest-rated tourist railroad anywhere in the East! Your contributions and their work have resulted in the miracle of the Colebrookdale’s rebirth and a remarkable upswing in community and economic activity in Boyertown and beyond.
We have come a long way: 
  • We hosted 20,000 riders per year from every state in the nation and many foreign countries 
  • There has been a $2 million economic impact to Boyertown and Pottstown since 2015 from direct spending by the Railroad for operations 
  • $6 million economic impact from visitors since 2015 
  • $13 million economic impact from Railroad capital investment during implementation phases 
  • Created 15 new jobs directly and, ultimately, 270 new jobs in the community 
  • 13 new businesses have opened in Boyertown and have attributed their locating here due to the Railroad 
  • Encouraged re-investment in real estate adjacent to the station grounds 
  • Fully restored a locomotive and two of the most beautiful railroad cars in the nation
Railroad operations have enhanced community events in both communities, which have chosen to locate here because of the presence of the train (ex: Boyertown’s Anniversary Celebration, Pickfest, Pottstown’s Brewfest, Santa’s arrival, etc.).
Since the railroad has been operating, we have received the following awards:
  • Preserve America Steward Designation. Awarded by Michelle Obama in 2015. The highest federal recognition for a grassroots preservation project and one of only four ever designated in Pennsylvania (along with Independence Mall National Historical Park) 
  • James K. Boyer Quality of Life Award 
  • 2015 Planning Award by Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce 
  • Boyertown Citizen of the Year Award 2015 
As I join my family on Thanksgiving, I want you to know how incredibly thankful I and other members of the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust are for you and your support.
Thank you for riding, thank you for volunteering, thank you for advocating, and thank you for giving to ensure the success of the Colebrookdale Railroad – the Secret Valley Line.
Nathaniel Guest

Executive Director


  1. Here we go again, throwing good money into the bottomless pit of Nate Guest's endless spending habits to be the BEST.
    A couple of questions? You have previously stated that you hauled 30,000 passengers last year, now you state 20,000. Actually this year to date you have hauled roughly 11,000 passengers, which means you have to haul 9,000 more till the end of the year to even make that statement true. I'll be keeping tabs on this. Also you make many bold statements on the economic impact you are having on Boyertown and it's businesses, but yet it's all generalization statements and no facts to back it up.
    What are these 13 businesses that started up and if they did how are they doing? Does Boyertown benefit from any taxes from your railroad directly or just the taxes for those new businesses you said you attracted? How did you create so many jobs when all you want people to do is volunteer and donate or are these non-paying jobs? I know you created your own job and paid yourself $70,000 in 2014. I can hardly wait for the 2015 tax returns to come out to see how much of a raise you gave yourself.
    Finally, stop bragging about how you are the BEST tourist rr in the east. You belittle some very fine outfits by your bragging, because these other outfits have to live within a budget set by their ridership. Believe me if you ever stop conning people out of their donations to your railroad and had to live off of your ridership instead of your ego, you would be no where near where you are. That glorified subway car you call a parlor car doesn't hold a candle to the recently refurbished parlor car on the Reading and Northern RR with its plush comfortable high back swivel parlor chairs.
    Again, let's hear some solid facts behind all of these generalized statements. After all you must have them to make these statements to begin with. How about it Boyertown? Are you 2 million dollars richer than the year before from money generated directly from the railroad? And what about Pottstown?

  2. Update: Despite all the FREE publicity this railroad gets, it only managed to haul 18,653 passengers in 2016, with over a 1/3 of that coming from late November to the end of December. So Nate has fallen short of his goal of hauling 20,000 to 30,000 passengers a year. Not only that, but if he was telling the truth about hauling 30,000 in 2015 as is posted on their website, then his business dropped almost 38% from 2015.