Are You Interested In Becoming A Volunteer?

We are the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing The Secret Valley Line and restoring its services to offer the greatest turn-of-the-century railroading experience in the nation.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Colebrookdale Railroad. Quite literally, the train doesn’t roll down the tracks without them.

Our volunteers are:
 the source of all accomplishments of our programs
 the most critical and unique resource we have
 the leaders in our organization
 committed long-term with frequent participation
 committed to a safe, productive, and cohesive workplace
 responsible for our future

Our dedicated family of volunteers does everything from track work, to passenger car restoration, to operations.

If you have what it takes to work on the railroad, contact us today at info@colebrookdalerailroad.com! Be sure to include the words, “I Want to Volunteer” in the subject line.
Mission
o To serve as a catalyst for economic development in Southeastern Pennsylvania through the preservation and interpretation of the historic, cultural, and natural heritage of the middle Schuylkill Region, birthplace of the American iron industry.
Vision Statement
o To establish national-caliber heritage and recreational anchor attraction around an authentic Edwardian-era experience of the sort offered on the grand limited trains of the 1900-1920 era by developing the Colebrookdale Railroad, its infrastructure, equipment, and real estate, and by building local and regional partnerships.

Steeples And Steel Tours Returning To Bethlehem

Bethlehem’s Steeples and Steel Tours are returning this summer.

Put on by the South Bethlehem Historical Society and the Steelworkers’ Archives, the guided tours include visits to both the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site and historic South Side churches.

The two groups jointly debuted the tours last year and they were very successful, organizers said.

This year’s tours are scheduled for June 27, July 25, Aug. 22, Sept. 26 and Oct. 31. The tours are two hours and include one hour at Steel and one hour at a specific South Side church. There are 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. tour sessions.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2015/06/steeples_and_steel_tours_retur.html

Colebrookdale Railroad Unofficially Opens With First Public Ride

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boyertown, PA – Stepping through a rock-strewn railyard in Boyertown, families lined up to board the historic train that made its unofficial debut on the Colebrookdale line Saturday.

Beginning with a 10:30 a.m. departure for the first train, hayrides on the “Secret Valley Line” offered by the Colebrookdale Railroad drew in patrons of all kinds.

They were treated to a two-hour ride in a train used in 1869 through a valley of scenic fall foliage and other natural and historic attractions, travelling from Boyertown to Pottstown through Colebrookdale and Douglass (Berks) townships. Throughout the ride, historical narration was provided by train workers to give context to the sights along the way.

The line follows the Ironstone and Manatawny creeks and passes by the village of Pine Forge.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141018/colebrookdale-railroad-unofficially-opens-with-first-public-ride

Schuylkill River Trail Extensions Will Connect Pottstown, Phoenixville

POTTSTOWN — It’s a simple truth, one that Kurt Zwikl repeats often: the longer a trail, the more people it attracts.

So perhaps that’s why as executive director of the Schuylkill River Heritage Association, he is so excited about the nearly $10 million of work being planned for his trail along the Schuylkill River.

Listed among hundreds of projects approved for funding in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, two relatively little items in Chester County are big news in terms of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Though small, they form crucial connections between two completed portions of the trail — from Mont Clare to Phoenixville and from Parker Ford to Pottstown.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140801/schuylkill-river-trail-extensions-will-connect-pottstown-phoenixville

All Aboard! $200K Grant Bolsters Plan For Boyertown-To-Pottstown Rail Service

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BOYERTOWN, PA — Progress on the revitalization of the Colebrookdale Railroad these days means more than pulling refurbished passenger cars along the picturesque 9-mile track on the shores of Manatawny Creek.

These days progress is being measured in cars and engines acquired, being fixed up and put into service.

And Wednesday marked another milestone on the railroad’s journey to full service when Executive Director Nathaniel Guest announced last week’s awarding of a $200,000 grant to begin construction of “railroad station infrastructure right here in Boyertown.”

The announcement came after the train — pulling cars packed with more than 70 federal and state legislators, county commissioners and municipal officials of all stripes — arrived at the downtown yard to the applause of a crowd that had gathered to welcome it.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140723/all-aboard-200k-grant-bolsters-plan-for-boyertown-to-pottstown-rail-service

$1.4M Grant Will Aid Colebrookdale Railroad Effort

The Colebrookdale Railroad will benefit from $1.4 million in funding made possible by a PennDOT grant aimed at repairing and upgrading the line’s rails, equipment and infrastructure.

The 8.6-mile line between Pottstown and Boyertown recently began carrying freight again and will also be home to The Secret Valley Line historic excursion railroad, opening in the fall.

“Seventy percent of the funding was provided by the state and we had to raise the other 30 percent,” said Nathaniel Guest, president of the non-profit Colebrookdale Railroad Restoration Trust, which oversees the line.

The non-profit group has a for-profit subsidiary, Eastern Berks Gateway Railroad, which oversees the freight traffic and was the recipient of the grant.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140309/14m-grant-will-aid-colebrookdale-railroad-effort

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Caboose Ride Between Boyertown And Pottstown Brings Hopes Of Local Railroad Tourism

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The brick-red caboose rolled into town, the relic greeting its new home as its wheels ground to a halt on the rails.

“Welcome to Boyertown!” announced Nathaniel Guest, president of the Colebrookdale Preservation Trust, who was decked out in a traditional railroad conductor’s uniform.

The 20 or so passengers who took the hourlong scenic excursion Friday afternoon applauded and then gathered their things.

The recently renovated caboose had just completed its inaugural run from Pottstown to Boyertown on the Colebrookdale Railroad, an almost 9-mile stretch of track that connects the two communities.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140120/NEWS/301209949/1052#.Ut1Qc_Qo6c8

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Historic Rail Car Coming Home To Pennsylvania

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BOYERTOWN, PA — A relic from the golden age of Pennsylvania’s railroading past is coming home.

Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) cabin car (known as a “caboose” on other railroads) #477768 was built in Altoona in 1941.

For the last six years, members of the Rivanna Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) have been restoring it at a location in Virginia, far from the car’s home.

Now it is being donated to the non-profit Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust in Boyertown. There it will be maintained and kept in operation on The Secret Valley Line tourist trains that will begin running on the eight mile track between Boyertown and Pottstown in the fall of 2014.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131224/historic-rail-car-coming-home-to-pennsylvania

Support For ‘Secret Valley’ Rail Line From Boyertown To Pottstown Picks Up Steam

Plans for a tourist excursion railroad on the eight-mile Colebrookdale line between Pottstown and Boyertown are moving forward and picking up support, most recently from a team of 40-or-so volunteers to got together to do a clean-up along the route.

Last weekend, the volunteers, led by the Pottstown Roller Derby Rockstars and folks in Montgomery County’s ARD program performing court-ordered community service, picked up trash along the right of way.

Berks County Subway provided lunch for all volunteers, and the Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation provided water.

J.P. Mascaro & Sons provided two dumpsters.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130617/NEWS01/130619394/support-for-secret-valley-rail-line-from-boyertown-to-pottstown-picks-up-steam#full_story

$2.3M Restoration Of Frick’s Lock Village Unveiled

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EAST COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, PA — In its heyday, Frick’s Lock Village was one of dozens of stops along the Schuylkill Navigation for coal making its way from the coal regions and the river’s headwaters to energy-starved industrial cities like Philadelphia.

But it lost its economic lustre when the railroads took over the job of carrying the coal and it slipped from public view entirely in 1969, when it was purchased by PECO as part of the construction of the Limerick nuclear plant.

But it never slipped entirely from memory, at least not for people like Bill Carl, who lived in the former locktender’s house in the late 1930s, when it had no electricity and no plumbing.

“We rented this from the Reading Railroad Co. for $5 a month,” he said.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130512/NEWS01/130519819/-2-3m-restoration-of-frick-s-lock-village-unveiled#full_story

New Iron Exhibit Opens At Pottsgrove Manor With A Lecture By Dan Graham

Stove (1)Pottstown, PA (January 17, 2013) – On Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 1:00pm, Pottsgrove Manor will open a new exhibit on Pennsylvania’s colonial iron industry with a lecture from historian Dan Graham.

In 1715, a Germantown blacksmith named Thomas Rutter built the first ironwork in the colony of Pennsylvania along the Manatawny Creek, setting the stage for the development of an ironworking empire in the region.  John Potts’ father, Thomas, entered into business with Rutter in 1725, and the next few generations of their families came to dominate the colonial iron industry through technical skill, business acumen, and profitable marriages.  In the exhibit “Forging a Lifestyle: Ironworking with the Potts Family,” the ins and outs of the early iron industry will be explored, from the physical work that was involved—mining, making charcoal, powering the forges and furnaces—to the business decisions that were made by those who owned and ran the ironworks, like the Potts, Rutter, Nutt, and Savage families.

The exhibit will kick off with Dan Graham’s lecture: “Colonial Pennsylvania Cast Iron Fire Backs, Stove Plates, and Warming Stoves, 1726-1760.”  Graham has done extensive research on the Potts and Rutter families and the early Pennsylvania iron industry.  His talk will focus on two of the products that came out of the early Pennsylvania iron furnaces, fire backs and stoves.  He will trace the development of stoves from the simple five-plate jamb stove to the elaborate ten-plate cooking stoves and the Franklin stove.  After the lecture, guided tours of the new iron exhibit will be offered.

The exhibit is open to all ages and can be viewed on a guided tour of Pottsgrove Manor during the museum’s regular hours between March 9, 2013 and November 3, 2013.  There is a suggested donation of $2 per person for the tour.

Pottsgrove Manor, home of John Potts, colonial ironmaster and founder of Pottstown, is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery County under the direction of the Parks and Heritage Services Division of the Assets and Infrastructure Department.

Regular museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.  Tours are given on the hour.  The last tour of the day begins as 3:00pm.  Groups of ten or more should pre-register by calling 610-326-4014.  For more information and a full calendar of events, please visit the website at: http://historicsites.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor or like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/PottsgroveManor.

Bern Section Of Schuylkill River Trail To Be Built

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s taken nearly five years to get to this point, but a half-mile walking trail along the Schuylkill River in Bern Township will be built by summer.

“It will be nice for people to get out on the trail,” Bern Township Manager Brian Potts said. “It’s picturesque in the summertime. It’s a nice location. Hopefully, people will enjoy it.”

The idea for the trail started in 1996, as Bern officials began working on a comprehensive parks and recreation plan. Potts said the trail was discussed again in the middle of the last decade, but Bern officials seriously began work on the project in 2007.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=453648

“Twelfth Night Tours” At Pottsgrove Manor

Pottstown, PA– Visit Pottsgrove Manor between Friday, November 23, 2012 and Sunday, January 6, 2013, for a glimpse of colonial life during the holiday season.

With the historic site’s annual “Twelfth Night Tours,” visitors of all ages can enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful 1752 Georgian manor house, decorated with greenery for Yuletide.  Along the way, guests will learn about traditional English celebrations of Twelfth Night and how they differed from modern Christmas celebrations.

The tours are offered during regular museum hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The museum is closed Mondays, as well as Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Tours are given on the hour; the last tour of the day begins at 3:00 p.m.  A donation of $2 per person is suggested for the tour.  Groups of 10 or more should pre-register by calling (610) 326-4014.

Visitors will also want to stop into Pottsgrove Manor’s museum shop for unique, historically-oriented gifts like locally-made redware pottery and ornaments, reproduction glassware, handcrafted candles and soaps, books, toys, games, and more.  The museum shop is open during regular museum hours.

Pottsgrove Manor, home of John Potts, colonial ironmaster and founder of Pottstown, is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery County under the direction of the Parks and Heritage Services Division of the Assets and Infrastructure Department.  For more information and a full calendar of events, visit the website at http://historicsites.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor or follow Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/PottsgroveManor.

“Living History Sundays” At Pottsgrove Manor

Pottstown, Pennsylvania — Come spend a casual summer Sunday afternoon at Pottsgrove Manor and enjoy the 18th century surroundings as volunteers demonstrate colonial trades and pastimes.

On August 5, 12, 19, and 26, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Pottsgrove Manor’s living history volunteers, dressed in colonial period clothing, will be living life the colonial way.  Activities may include needlework, gunsmithing, butter churning, tape weaving, and more.  Visitors can watch, learn, and even join in!  Activities will vary from week to week, so call ahead or check the event listing on Pottsgrove Manor’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pottsgrovemanor to find out what will be offered that day.

A donation of $2 per person is suggested for this program.  Guests can also tour the museum’s current exhibit, “Matters Personal, Details Private:  Cleanliness, Hygiene, and Personal Pursuits in the Colonial Home” on their visit.

The exhibit can also be viewed during a guided tour of Pottsgrove Manor during regular museum hours now through November 4.  Regular museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Tours are given on the hour.  The last tour of the day begins at 3:00 p.m. The site is closed Mondays and major holidays.  Groups of then or more should pre-register by calling 610-326-4014.

Pottsgrove Manor is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery County under the direction of the Parks and Heritage Services Department.  For more information, call 610-326-4014, or visit us the website at http://historicsites.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor.

Passenger Rail Excursions Planned For Historic Short Line In Boyertown

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sound of the whistle echoed through Boyertown Saturday as the diesel engine left a rail yard near Third and Chestnut streets pulling two hoppers loaded with scrapped steel.

The 8.2-mile downhill trip to Pottstown had begun.

Engineer Fitzhugh “Beanie” Clark said Eastern Berks Gateway Railroad is running one or two trips a week on the historic short line known as the Colebrookdale Spur.  It first became operational in 1869.

The Berks County commissioners bought the line for $1.35 million in March 2009 to save it from abandonment by a former owner, and contracted with Eastern Berks to operate it.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=401732

Colonial Textile Program At Pottsgrove Manor

Pottstown, PA – What people often throw out today would have been repaired, refreshed, or reused by their colonial counterparts. Visitors to historic Pottsgrove Manor on Saturday, June 9th between 11:00am and 3:00pm can see how this was done.

The interactive program, “Cleaning & Mending, Repairing, Extending: The Non-Disposable 18th- Century Textile,” will feature a variety of living history activities and demonstrations throughout the day. These will include colonial laundry, dyeing, sewing, mending, ironing, and more.

A donation of $2 per person is suggested for this program. This program is being held in conjunction with Pottsgrove Manor’s current exhibit, “Matters Personal, Details Private: Cleanliness, Hygiene, and Personal Pursuits in the Colonial Home.” Guided tours of the exhibit will be offered on the hour during the program.

The exhibit can also be viewed during a guided tour of Pottsgrove Manor during regular museum hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tours are given on the hour. The last tour of the day begins at 3:00 p.m. The site is closed Mondays and major holidays. Groups of ten or more should pre-register by calling 610-326-4014.

Pottsgrove Manor is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery County under the direction of the Parks and Heritage Services Department. For more information, call 610-326-4014, or visit the website at http://historicsites.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor.

Boytertown Council Hears Plans For Colebrookdale Rail Spur, Park

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Image via Wikipedia

There is no shortage of ideas for new projects in and around Boyertown.

Borough council heard three of them this week: rail tourism, a walking trail and a fenced-in park area for dogs.

The tourist railroad envisioned by Nathaniel C. Guest would use the historic 8.6-mile Colebrookdale Spur line between Boyertown and Pottstown, which Berks County bought for $1.35 million in 2009.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=364402