Colebrookdale Railroad

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Colebrookdale Railroad
Colebrookdale RR logo.png
Colebrookdale Railroad dining car.jpg
Dining car
Overview
HeadquartersBoyertown, Pennsylvania
LocaleBoyertown-Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Dates of operation2014–
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length8.6 miles
Other
Websitecolebrookdalerailroad.com
Colebrookdale Railroad
Route map

Barto
Eshbach
Bechtelsville
New Berlinsville
Boyertown
Colebrookdale
Iron Stone
Pine Forge
Mill Park
Pottstown

The Colebrookdale Railroad, also known as the Secret Valley Line, is a tourist railroad located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The railroad operates between Boyertown in Berks County and Pottstown in Montgomery County.

Operations[edit]

The Colebrookdale Railroad operates a variety of excursions originating out of Boyertown. The trains operated include a fall foliage train, Haunted History train, Santa Claus train, Valentine's Day train, Easter Bunny Express, Wine Tasting and Cheese Train, and Mother's Day and Father's Day trains.[1] The railroad also allows groups to charter the entire train or to rent the caboose for birthday parties.[2]

History[edit]

The inaugural excursion of the Colebrookdale Railroad on October 18, 2014, led by EMD GP10 7580 in Pennsylvania Railroad colors

The Colebrookdale Railroad started building the railroad line between Boyertown and Pottstown in 1865 to serve the iron ore industry along the Manatawny Creek and trains started running in 1869. The line, which featured both freight and passenger service, originally continued further north to Bechtelsville and Barto before service was later cut back to Boyertown. The Colebrookdale Railroad was leased by the Reading Railroad who operated the line until 1976, when it became a part of Conrail. Conrail planned to abandon the line, but the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation acquired the line and hired operators. The line was operated by the Anthracite Railway, the Blue Mountain & Reading Railroad, and Penn Eastern Rail Lines. In March 2001, Berks County acquired the line for $155,000 to keep it active; the line was soon sold to Penn Eastern Rail Lines.[3][4] The Colebrookdale Spur was abandoned by the East Penn Railroad (the successor to Penn Eastern Rail Lines) in 2008.[3][5][6]

The Berks County Redevelopment Authority reactivated the line,[7] with the Eastern Berks Gateway Railroad appointed to operate the line beginning in October 2010.[8] The company's non-profit parent, the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust, is working on developing freight traffic on the line. In 2011, a tourist railroad was proposed to operate on the line.[9] Tourist passenger operations began in early October 2014 with a series of "soft" trips, intended to work out any operational issues before the first full season in 2015.

The Colebrookdale Railroad began regular tourist service on October 18, 2014.[10] In early 2020 the railroad operators requested $25M from the county government for infrastructure improvements. The rail had to turn away freight business because tracks and bridges needed reinforcement to support the weight of modern railcars.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Featured Excursions and Themes". Colebrookdale Railroad. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  2. ^ "Charters and Groups". Colebrookdale Railroad. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Eastern Berks Gateway Railroad". Colebrookdale Railroad. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  4. ^ "Colebrookdale Spur". Reading Eagle. May 2, 2008. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
  5. ^ "EAST PENN RAILROAD, LLC-ABANDONMENT EXEMPTION-IN BERKS AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES, PA". Surface Transportation Board. September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  6. ^ Young, Mary E. (May 3, 2008). "Losing rail spur will hurt, Boyertown company says". Reading Eagle. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  7. ^ Duran, Carole (June 23, 2010). "Board continues Boyertown rail freight facility plan". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  8. ^ Young, Mary E. (September 3, 2010). "County OKs lease with railroad to reopen Boyertown-Pottstown line". Reading Eagle. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
  9. ^ Reichl, Matthew (September 25, 2011). "Would you take the train from Boyertown to Pottstown?". The Boyertown Area Times. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
  10. ^ Dennis, Marian (October 18, 2014). "Colebrookdale Railroad unofficially opens with first public ride". The Mercury. Pottstown, PA. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  11. ^ Shuey, Karen (10 February 2020). "Colebrookdale Railroad asks Berks County for $25 million". ReadingEagle.com. Retrieved 10 February 2020.

External links[edit]