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The Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority (SRPRA) oversees and implements the restoration of passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia and is supported with equal representation and funding from Berks, Chester, and Montgomery Counties. The SRPRA has the power to formalize agreements, pursue funding opportunities and partner with rail operators and state and federal transportation agencies.
The creation of the SRPRA is not a guarantee that passenger rail will return, but it is a crucial next step to continue the long process of research and planning. Commissioners from each County noted that while there had been talk of restoring passenger rail service before, this is the first time any type of initiative has gotten this far. County leaders are also optimistic that this effort will be successful due to the potential funding available through the federal bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia has a long history dating back to the early 19th century. The first rail service between the two cities was established in 1838 by the Reading Railroad, which initially operated as a cargo carrier, primarily transporting coal from the mines in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania to the cities of Philadelphia, Reading and beyond. The Reading Railroad was one of the most important railroads in the country for transporting coal, and it was instrumental in the development of the region's economy. Learn more about the Reading Railroad.