Colebrookdale Railroad takes first passengers

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BOYERTOWN, Pa. – Pennsylvania's newest tourist railroad has made its public debut this month. The Colebrookdale Railroad made its first trip over the nine-mile line from Boyertown to Pottstown on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m., with additional runs that afternoon at 1 and 3:30 p.m.

The Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust was formed in 2009, and a large contingent of volunteers, led by trust president Nathaniel Guest, have been working ever since to bring passenger trains back the line, which dates to 1869. It was once a Reading branch line that featured a Saturday-only train in the late 1940's. Since the Reading disposed of it in 1976, it has been through several owners. It was purchased by Berks County in 2009 for $1.35 million to prevent its abandonment, using funds from a legal settlement rather than tax revenues.

Known as the Secret Valley Line, the Colebrookdale Railroad follows the scenic Manatawny Creek, climbing a long grade from Pine Forge to Boyertown, crossing three wooden trestles along the way. Earlier in the summer, a few trains were operated for the press and some special groups.

Guest characterizes this fall's trains as a soft opening, with the grand opening scheduled to take place in 2015. Trains will operate Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Nov. 9.

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