The horses, giraffes, and reindeer on the Derek Scott Saylor Memorial Carousel are part of a merry-go-round meant to be more than an amusement.
The attraction – and the similarly restored old train that will drop visitors at its doorstep – are the centerpieces of a downtown revitalization effort for a slumping Montgomery County borough taking steps toward a comeback.
The carousel and train are scheduled to officially begin operations next fall.
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.
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.
“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.