The Reading Railroad may be a thing of the past but thanks to the hard work of a few organizations spread across the county passenger railroad service is making a come back.
With the recent announcement of the Reading Outer Station in Muhlenberg by the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad, Berks County now has four passenger rail lines for enthusiasts to enjoy. Let’s take a look at a few of the local railroads around Berks County:
Completed by soldiers home from the Civil War just four months after the Transcontinental Railroad united the East and West, the Colebrookdale is a record of epic engineering and heroic human drama. 8.6 miles long and a century and a half back in time, the Secret Valley Line beckons you to experience for yourself the unexpected treasures of Southeastern Pennsylvania. www.colebrookdalerailroad.com
Wanamaker, Kempton and Southern Railroad
The Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern is a small tourist railroad located in the northern tip of Berks County, Pennsylvania. The railroad runs on three and a half miles of track that were once part of the Schuylkill & Lehigh branch of the Reading Company system. The Reading Company was known as a mighty coal hauler, but the S&L was a rural agricultural branch sometimes called the “Slow & Lonesome.” The branch was perhaps best known for the “Berksy,” a local passenger train that carried students to and from the only area high school at Slatington. www.kemptontrain.com
Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad
Reading Outer Station on Route 61 and Bellevue Avenue in Muhlenberg Township is the REBIRTH of passenger service in the Reading area. RBM&N features a Rail Diesel Car trains running the Reading and Northern mainline to Jim Thorpe, PA. The train will take you to the center of Jim Thorpe’s historic downtown, referred to as the “Switzerland of America”. While in Jim Thorpe, enjoy over three hours to take in the history, culture, food, and charm of the historic downtown. www.rbmnrr-passenger.com
Allentown and Auburn Railroad
The Allentown & Auburn Railroad has its beginnings all the way back in 1853 when part of our current line was referred to as the “Auburn and Allentown Railroad”. Tracks run from Topton, PA to Kutztown, PA a distance of 4 miles. www.allentownandauburnrr.com
Enjoy a day out with the family! Each railroad hosts their own unique events throughout the year. Take a ride under a full moon in Kutztown, get up close with the “Touch-a-Train Day” in Kempton or ride on Santa’s Polar Bear Express in Boyertown.
Off the Tracks
Make it a day trip with a little shopping on the side in Boyertown and Kutztown. Whether your waiting for the train or just arrived back from your adventure these main street towns have plenty of shops and restaurants within walking distance of the stations.
Looking for some rail history? Don’t forget to visit the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum for a look back in time to when the Reading Railroad roared through the region. The museum features locomotives, photographs, documents and artifacts from the Reading Railroad.
With all of the options it may take a little bit to reach everything. Our advise, take it slow, plan ahead and most of all enjoy!