U.S. Senator Bob Casey Jr. has recently announced that the Colebrookdale Railroad will be receiving $14.7 million in federal grants aimed at renovating the existing track structure. It's the hope of the federal government that this will improve the railroad with modern additions that better facilitate travel. The Colebrookdale Railroad was originally constructed in 1869 as a passageway for coal coming from the North, and a mode of transportation for visitors along the Manatawny Creek. Over the decades, the railroad has undergone significant wear and tear and is in need of much-needed repairs and renovations that'll make the track more accessible to all. Nathaniel Guest, the president of the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust, called this financial input a "much needed and much welcome shot in the arm."
What Renovations Will Be Covered?
A large portion of the $14.7 million in appropriated funds will be used to modernize 8.6 miles of track between Boyertown and Pottstown. 14 different bridges will be repaired or replaced to better improve safety and transportation. The funds, which come from the federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program, will also be used to construct two transload yards and improve the drainage issues experienced there. Without proper attention, these portions of the track system will no longer operate as intended.
Goals and Aspirations of a Newly Updated Rail Line
Railroad improvements along the Colebrookdale Railroad have been a lengthy process. Berks County initially bought the railroad for $1.35 million with the intention of renovating it under the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust. In 2014, the entire railroad was turned over to Berks County Redevelopment Authority, which was critical in securing more financial help.
The aim of the railroad renovation is to outfit the tracks to better withstand the weight and needs of modern train cars, allowing current customers of the railroad to expand, and new customers to get onboard. The railroad also serves as a major transportation method for tourist journeys along a scenic route through the area. Senator Casey stated that the people of Berks County "deserve access to safe and efficient railways, rail crossings, and bridges."
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