Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Ride on the Colebrookdale Railroad

 The staff at the Schuylkill River Heritage Area recently spent a scenic fall morning riding the rails, taking a trip through stunning fall foliage on the Colebrookdale Railroad, from Boyertown to Pottstown.

Nathaniel Guest
This unique trip was organized by a member of our Board of Directors, Nathaniel Guest. Nathaniel has headed up an effort to establish a dedicated tourist railroad along  the route we rode yesterday morning, working through the Colebrook Railroad Preservation Trust. The trust hopes to have passenger trains running as early as next October, if they are able to secure funding to purchase a locomotive, that is.

We were invited to test out the 8.6 mile line because, as Nathaniel said "you just don't expect to see a rail line this scenic from Boyertown to Pottstown." And he was right. The tracks overlook some pretty spectacular views, with steep cliffs that drop down to flowing creeks. The bright orange,
red and yellow leaves were a bonus

The subtitle for the line is "The Secret Valley Line," which is appropriate, considering that it takes you through what is essentially a now hidden passageway that peeks at farms, back roads and wilderness.

We rode in small rail cars known as "speeders." They weren't very fast, but were so named because they replaced old pump cars that were much slower. We learned that the drivers of the speeders own their own cars and take excursions on them. Who knew? Our driver, Hank, came from York to transport us along the Colebrookdale Line in the speeder shown on the left. This was only one of several speeders that made the trip yesterday, since they are small vehicles holding only one to three passengers and a driver.

In the end though, this was more than just a scenic tour on a cute speeder car. It was a train ride through some impressive history, taking us over old railroad bridges, past numerous gristmills and former iron forges and furnaces, and through Pine Forge, the site of the first iron works in Pennsylvania.

You can learn more about the Colebrookdale Railroad: The Secret Valley Line and efforts to establish a tourist railroad by visiting:

1 comment:

  1. This is quite interesting! Although I no longer live in the area, it is always heartwarming to see that some of the old track beds have been restored for train use. I hope they can get a locomotive soon!
    Greetings form Tirol,